You’ve seen me compare agile team members with VIKINGS and I have more comparisons coming.
Last night while driving home from work with a team in Zeeland I thought about my upcoming game-day at one of my best friends.
We’re going to be diving into some D&D and I thought about the similarities between D&D adventurer groups and Scrum teams.
As adventurers you embark on a journey to great riches, or fame, or just because the heck of it. You take your swords, harps, books, emblems and amulets and your boots strike the yellow brick road to meet the Wizard of…wait, wrong adventure.
One your journeys you meet all kinds of monsters, stakeholders, erm, NPCs (non player characters) and maybe even giant bugs. With the roll of a die you exploit your abilities and skills and strive mostly to survive another day.
Survival like this can only achieved well if you work together as a team. Healers heal the tanking Warriors as they charge headlong into the big bosses you meet. The Wiz in your party weaves magic spells to slay the monsters and giant bugs. The Bard lifts your spirits and appeases the grumbling crowds during a retelling of your adventures.
The Dungeon Master will try to grow the group to a tight knitted bunch of heroes. To achieve bigger results each time, again and again.
Also the deep chasms you will encounter can be found in an everyday Agile Teams life. When a team member of low wisdom decides to take matters in their own hands and fouls up a seemingly hard plot, it usually is the whole team that suffers the consequences.
“I charge up to the monster and poke his eye out!”, just as the DM is explaining the situation. Ominous dice-rolling sounds can be heard behind the screen of obscurity that the DM always utilises when hatching hair-raising plans to test the adventurers. The quickly overlooked obvious disadvantages of taking initiative when the opposing side may have already had the initiative in the first place will take the group by surprise and reduce their chances to below ten percent (1 on 1D10).
The adventurers quickly get a spanking they did not expect. Taking up too much in their sprint through a narrow canyon, because Wally the Warrior thought he could easily best his demons. A misspelled enchantment by Sally the Sorceress gets them tangled in a rubbery sticky web that does not help them in besting a on-storming horde of data-porting kobolds.
Not knowing your compendium , not understanding the system, nor knowing the environment you are in during a campaign will stump your party as quickly as a programmer not knowing the IDE, a product owner team member not knowing the domain or an enterprise architect not understanding the application landscape.
A Dungeon master who is only set on destroying the lives of the individual adventurers is just as destructive as a project managing Scrum Master.
As you may know, Scrum is all about Common sense (Not the pamphlet written by Thomas Paine). It is also about the Scrum values, where not just Courage fits in with adventurer parties.
Lets roll the dice some more and show this courage. Let’s commit ourselves to the goal of the product owners campaign of ROI+5 and focus on slaying our monsters and giant bugs. Be open to the world about our results and the way we fight our battles and be respectful to our Scrum Ma…erm, Dungeon Master!