2 April 2013

Meddlers game; Designing Agile Organsiations

I really like the learning activity Jurgen Appelo has created in his Meddlers game.  I want to share some insights I have gained from playing Meddlers here with you.

The basic set-up

The original rule set is on Jurgen's Noop.nl blog.  

There are team tiles and role counters. The team tiles are marked as either cross-functional or as specialists. There are also customer tiles. Join the hexagonal tiles of teams need to work together.

You set up the game with a team structure based on an initial brief. I like asking people to start with their existing team and teams they depend on to deliver customer value.

You can then add scenarios or ask the team to come up with their own scenarios and explore how they might respond.

My modifications

Jurgen’s structure and rule set is pretty lightweight. I have a modification I like to use to help me amplify a sense of journey into the game.

I add;
  • There is an initial set-up round per the original rule set
  • I then work in 5-8 minute rounds
  • At the end of each round I call out an event from a deck of event cards I made up
  • The team need to respond to the event cards in the following iteration
  • The event cards can be given to the teams and they can play them at heir own rate if you want to let go of control

What can you learn?

Some of the available lessons are listed below.
  • Is it easier for one person to design an organisation or to do it as a group?
  • Is it better to manage a set of Self-organising, cross-functional teams or to manage specialists groups? What about hybrids; where do they fit in?
  • What does organisation design do to system architecture?
  • How does an uncertain environment help or hinder organisational agility?
  • How should teams and customers organise their relationships?
  • What is an optimal team size? How do you manage growing pains for teams?

In fact there are also many more learning opportunities in this game. Meddlers is what I like to call an open ended learning opportunity. You get to bring your own background, your experiences and knowledge and your biases as well. You then get to mix them up with other people’s own sense of the world and through that interaction you'll develop your own insights.

Additional information

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