Few days ago we announced the release of our Tmap Game, I wanted to share with you the story how it all started and what’s the game about ?

From a blog post to a meetup to a game

When I first discovered the concept of gamification in learning, I find it super funny and effective way to make your team learn differently, then I make it like a habit in my community, almost every meetup I try to bring a new game (about DevOps, agile, scrum, test strategies, exploratory testing ….)

I decided to collect the games I used in this blog post.

When I joined Sogeti FR last year, Wouter a colleague from Sogeti NL reached out to me and asked me about those games and invited me to run a meetup Gamify Your Testing at their Qmeets community, The goal was to share the concept of gamification that I use with my team using practical examples.

We had a blast, lots of participants 4 games (described below), 4 facilitators and lot of fun!

๐—ช๐—ผ๐˜‚๐—น๐—ฑ ๐˜†๐—ผ๐˜‚ ๐—ต๐—ฒ๐˜‚-๐—ฟ๐—ถ๐˜€๐—ธ ๐—ถ๐˜?
Testing skills demystified through 30 thought-provoking lessons, told through a unique format mixing rhymes, theory, and stories.

๐—ง๐—ฒ๐˜€๐˜ ๐˜€๐—ฝ๐—ต๐—ฒ๐—ฟ๐—ฒ
The Card Deck That Gets You Thinking and Talking About Software Testing and Quality.

A game to design a Continuous Delivery pipeline together with your development team.

๐—”๐—ด๐—ถ๐—น๐—ฒ ๐—ง๐—ฒ๐˜€๐˜๐—ถ๐—ป๐—ด ๐—–๐—ผ๐—ฎ๐—ฐ๐—ต๐—ถ๐—ป๐—ด ๐—–๐—ฎ๐—ฟ๐—ฑ๐˜€
Agile teams can use the cards to explore their way of testing and define actions to improve it.

After that meetup, we did a retro and they bring the idea of creating our own Game ! So the adventure “Creating A Game” started the first monday of January 2022 with Rik Marselis & Wouter Ruigrok and me.

Brainstorming the theme of our Game

This is one of the difficult choices we had to make, how to make a new unique game that could add value (and fun) to their players !

We had a first conversation from our experience about metrics, and this was the starting point, we can confirm that many organizations struggle with metrics for various reasons:

The most important reason is the inability to understand the exact goal(s) of using those metrics at the team level. If the team can’t answer “WHY are we using those metrics?”, โ€œWhat does it mean if this metric reaches a certain range?โ€ and “What do we do in case this metric indicates a problem?”

We had a conclusion: “Even if the metric gives you a correct value, it still irrelevant if we donโ€™t know the exact problem and it is also hard to improve”

The Process Releasing the Game

Most of the game production was online as we are in different countries, we meet with a frequency every 2 or 3 weeks.

We used a digital board to put down our ideas and visualise how the cards, place holders and the board look like.

We met a whole 1 day at our office in Lille, and we did many dry runs, and in every iteration we challenge each other what can we improve or what steps are not clear, or not necessary.

We finished with an action plan, everyone took some tasks and we did a great progress in the last couple of months before going live.

The below picture was taken from our very first dry run and from there we get into the game board that you see in the cover.

About the Tmap Game

So we adressed the mentioned problems, ideas in our brainstorming and we come up with a game that covers different aspects in phases :

  1. Teams start by identifying their own problems using the question cards then they can set their goals on different levels of product, process and people. 
  2. After that, they have a better understanding about what’s going on and what need to be solved (first), they can explore different metrics and identify the most suitable for every problem identified in previous phase, this happens through story telling and dot voting between all team members. So that they have a common understanding and they are aligned why that metric is relevant to their situation.
  3. After that, participants will go into more details such as the range, the type of values they are expecting, what they are looking for in the metrics? then, participants will brainstorm possible quality improvement actions that could be integrated in their process to solve the problems mentioned and to reach the ideal range given by any metric. They can use dice to initiate discussions about the range of the metric.
  4. At the end of the game, the participants from different groups share their experiences, learnings from the game to summarize their takeaways and inspire others.  

The game is now live, 6th October 2022

It’s also good to give your project a deadline, so we fixed our target release date 6th October 2022=a suitable date to run it for the first time during the QX Day (a conference organized by Sogeti Netherlands in Utrecht)

The quality experience center during the conference was an excellent idea, so it’s not just a 2H workshop but an open place the whole day where everyone who is interested to play or to discover the game can join us in one or more rounds.

Experience & Reflections

I truly enjoyed our collaboration creating the game, the experience was special, it’s completely new thing full of critical thinking and creativity. From one side, our mind think about different (non testing games) at try to adapt new ideas to the context and from another side we say “oh that’s complex, we didn’t develop the easliest game, let’s see how can we simplify this !!!”

We used visuals to modelize the concept and the gaming elements and we tried to conenct the dots and make it easy to explain and funny to play with great added value to teams.

I’m even inspired to think about creating other new games.

Next Stops; Where can you find the game ?

You can find us next month at QX Day France, the game will be available during all the day in the Quality Experience Center where you can play with other attendees and experience it on a real life scenario.

And if you are interested in knowing more about the Quality Improvement Game or in playing with your team(s), send me a message via twitter or linkedin !

Other references