In the simplest terms, software development decisions for commercial organizations can be reduced to a calculation of whether the cost of developing the software will be outweighed by the revenue generated or costs saved by the software.

However, what does this mean for government and other non-commercial organizations for whom the impact of software isn’t primarily measured in terms of revenue?  How should organizations prioritize work in the face of conflicting goals and metrics?  Help more people?  Minimize delays?  Prosecute more crimes? Lower costs? In this session participants will experience a dice-based simulation that has been created to explore these questions by examining the impact of these decisions on the performance of organizations in changing environments.


Outline/Structure of the Workshop

Introduction and Simulation Setup (5 Minutes)

Round 1: (10 minutes)

Each table will be given the profile of an organization, and how the outcomes of the dice relate to different measures of the organization's mission. Participants will have 10 turns (or until the time is up) of a dice-rolling simulation in which the performance of their organization will be measured and charted using these metrics.  

Round 2: (10 minutes)

Participants will have the opportunity select from one of several different capabilities to improve their organization's performance.  After selecting, they will continue the simulation for another 10 rounds (or until the time is up)

Round 3: (10 minutes)

Participants will have the opportunity select from another capability  to improve their organization's performance.  After selecting, they will continue the simulation for another 10 rounds (or until the time is up)

Nothing goes as planned, and the facilitators will introduce some events that will alter the game as it progresses.

Wrap-up (10 Minutes)

Discuss the lessons from the simulation and how they can apply to their non-simulated organizations.

Learning Outcome

 Participants will be equipped to prioritize investments in government and other non-commercial settings and to assess the impact of those investments.

Target Audience

Folks who have a role in prioritizing work from a business point of view in government or non-profit organizations.



schedule Submitted 5 years ago

  • David W Kane

    David W Kane / Andrea / Elena Ryan - FeatureBan - A simulation to introduce Kanban basics

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  • Thad Scheer

    Thad Scheer - Un-beach the whale and turbocharge productivity in your post-Agile organization

    45 Mins

    When you transitioned to Agile you solicited the best advice, updated your development tools, hired coaches, installed furniture, and embraced painful cultural changes. Now, a few years later, you wonder whether Agile is working. Are you realizing the productivity you are paying for, or did Agile flop? With so many people developing software every day you expect more to get done. Your advisors tell you not to worry about productivity, this is how it’s supposed to be. Questioning themselves, many executives are awakening to these gut feelings of disillusionment in their post-transition organizations. How much productivity should they expect from Agile teams? How do you know if Agile is working? Can Agile organizations be slow and unwieldy despite their Agileness? This session offers a strategic business management perspective about the honest reality of Agile in a post-transition organization. Attendees will learn to recognize the signals of poor Agile productivity and how to fix development so it stays fixed.

  • Theresa Smith

    Theresa Smith - Product Design with Intent: How to Drive Product Design in an Agile Project

    45 Mins

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    This session presents a design driven approach called Strong Center Design that incorporates design into an agile workflow.

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  • Christy Hermansen

    Christy Hermansen - Inside the GSA – a Case Study of user-centered Agile in a high-profile government agency

    45 Mins
    Case Study

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    When Eric Schmidt, former CEO of Google, predicted, "Everything in the future online is going to look like a multiplayer game," perhaps he was envisioning a user community such as ours.  The IAE family of software applications have more than a million users representing federal, state, local, and tribal government organizations; congressional staff; large and small businesses; universities, schools, and hospitals; non-profit organizations; foreign entities; private citizens and others.  Our greatest challenge is the diversity of our user base, resembling a massive multiplayer game in many ways. 

    This case study looks inside a major reengineering effort to migrate 10 legacy applications into an integrated environment while at the same time transitioning from Waterfall to Agile development.  It tells the story of how IAE users have shaped our transformation thus far.  



  • 45 Mins


    "My end date is fixed."
    "My customer gave me 1000 traditional requirements."
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    “My customer has a mission to execute, they cannot be here every day.”

    Like in Horseshoes and Hand Grenades, being close in Agile has great value.  We need not abandon our brethren in the trenches just because some of the most recognizable practices are out of play.  The great principles of Agile help in even the most difficult environments.  Shipping great software while under some traditional constraints is a true test of the movement – and we have a track record of doing just that.  We have employed Stealth Agile, Green Box Agile, Cafeteria Agile, Agile Pathfinding, and even Agile Treason in order to deliver in less than ideal circumstances.

    A series of actual scenarios will reveal the adaptations to Agile practices that kept us close to principles.  A small set of practices are present in so many of our projects that we consider them to be part of our Agile core.  Sometimes we rename them, sometimes we feather them, sometimes we disguise them, but they are always present and are pivotal to success.  Chief among these are the various practices that enable and encourage rapid feedback at multiple levels including Customer, Product, System, and Development.

  • Paul Boos

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    90 Mins

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    This workshop will demonstrate how productivity increases with greater collaboration and how to create better a more collaborative environment.  In the session you will not only have an opportunity to experience this relationship with a relatively simple learning game, but we'll look behind the curtain at the science and how some various behavioral models explain why this relationship exists.  We'll then explore some tactics you can use to help teams collaborate better and close with an exploration of what either helps or hinders collaboration and how you can use this information as well as the game with your teams.

    If you have an interest in improving productivity of your team or the teams you serve, then this is the session for you.

  • Erik E. Stein

    Erik E. Stein - Size Does Matter: A New Metric to Keep Your Architecture Agile.

    45 Mins

    Large codebases have structural problems that do not occur in smaller codebases. These problems are emergent in nature and typically not noticed until some indirect symptoms rear their ugly heads. (“What do you mean it will take six weeks to change that!?”) Even then, the root causes are often not identified and, regardless, are costly to correct. Left untreated, these structural problems eventually make changes to code so costly that the software becomes brittle and unchangeable within the cost and time constraints of the business. This is the software equivalent of hardened arteries, and, like the medical condition, it is a silent killer.

    The traditional metrics of architecture complexity are insensitive to, or worse, favor structural changes that increase codebase complexity. Our recent research has identified and characterized this phenomenon and we offer a new metric, the Layer Respect Metric, which sheds light on this problem and helps us balance our uses of the traditional measures of architectural complexity to ensure our codebases are as agile as our teams.