Dependency Poker is an agile learning game about release planning. It is a simulation of multi-team planning and coordination at the program/product-line level, over the 5 sprints of a release cycle, with interdependencies — indeed, with some very nasty, very realistic interdependencies. The game is played by 4 teams, each with a unique persona and a unique “superpower”, i.e. a technique that only they can use to help resolve impediments confronting them. Work is represented by feature and story cards which highlight the dependencies between these units of work. The objective of the game is to deliver the most feature value for the program/product-line by the end of the release cycle.
This highly-interactive game gives players hands-on experience in the basic principles of release planning, dependency management, and operation of a Scrum-of-Scrums. To succeed, teams must address a number of common conflicts including: sequencing of work, unplanned work from other teams, local (our team) versus global (our product) optimization of value, managing work-in-progress, while leaving enough time for integration testing. To survive, teams must employ fast-paced decision-making to discover and resolve dependencies and make sprint plans for the next sprint. This real-life simulation drives home the understanding that there is no time for big-analysis-up-front and that little unpleasant surprises lurk (seemingly) around every corner. Come join us! See for yourself that there *are* things we can do to manage chaos and “win” at Dependency Poker!