BDD Warriors and Other Games

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How and why we use tabletop games at DBServer and how that led to the creation of a game to introduce Behaviour-Driven Development to teams. This talk was presented at CukeUp!AU 2016.

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  • I live and work in Brazil where I’m a Java and .net developer. I’ve been working with behaviour driven development since 2013 – not very long, but I try to make up for it in enthusiasm. Big fan of science fiction and fantasy – I’ve managed not to include dinosaurs in my game but it was a near thing. And I’m a fan of boardgames, which is also a recent development because for a long time my frame of reference was Monopoly. But there are a lot of other cool games out there,
  • like Hanabi. This is one of the games we play most often: it’s a cooperative card game that’s quick to teach and play, so we use it during orientation for new employees and sometimes for team retrospective meetings. It’s a simple game, but the catch is that you don’t see your own cards, so you need the other players’ help and you can see why we like to use it to introduce to our company’s values. We’ve tried some other icebreakers with the new people, but we found that Hanabi works really well, people get really into it.
  • We also have competitive games like Dixit, which is a game that requires creativity and imagination and knowing how the other players think, because it’s a guessing game. So while Hanabi is part logic-puzzle, which has a certain appeal to IT people, Dixit works in a different sphere.
  • This is another coop – and this kind of game is so much like software development, because here you have a team of specialists on an island, they’re trying to find treausre, but the island keeps sinking with them on it, and they desparetely keep trying to fix all the bugs, I mean, the island and it keeps sinking faster – I had projects like that. It’s a characteristic of this kind of game that you have the balance your long term goal, or winning condition, with all the short term obstacles that the game throws at you.
  • Or there are games like Fluxx which another competitive game and is the poster child for ‘responding to change over following a plan’, because the goals and the rules change with card that’s played and you have to be quick to take your opportunities.
  • And if you like something more complex, Sentinels of the multiverse, a coop where you play a group of superheroes, it’s very thematic, and I find that it’s also similar to a project where you have a huge backlog, and you’re not delivering a whole lot at first, -- because when you begin the game you’re up against villains with minions and gadgets and the heros start from scratch -- and then as time passes and people work together, they’re able to accomplish so much more. In these games it’s also common for one person to set up the play for another person to finish it.
  • So why do we do all this? And let me get the obvious out of the way, team building. But we can expand on that, communication, trust on your team, everyone having equal participation and being responsible for their decisions. Defining priorities is an important part of games. You have to have tactical and strategical thinking, which are short term reaction and long term planning. Games encourage imagination and creativity, empathy, story-telling. And on a larger sense, culture. We want to encourage these values in our teams, collaboration, innovation, we want to have a space where this is possible, where people feel confortable bringing new ideas and we think that by introducing these in a game, they’ll translate yo how people work in the actual projects.
  • Print & play means you can download the pdf and print and use it, the idea is to be accessible and also that people can improve upon it, hence the license. And besides talking about BDD and showing syntax, we want to show that when people get together and talk about a feature, it’ll turn out better than if they didn’t, that sometimes you have an idea that seems clear in your head but it isn’t clear to other people and you find ouy by talking.
  • This game is intended to be part of something larger, it’s not oh, play the game and now you know BDD. We do things that range from a 30-min introduction to BDD to a 3hour workshop. The game gave us the chance to start a conversation about BDD in many different places.
  • And I want to show you one more slide, about results other than ‘more people knowing BDD’, and one of them is that we now have more people in our company designing their own games to apply in their areas to help with their specific problems, and the other one is completely unrelated to software development, which is the facebook post – and it’s bdd warriors used for speech therapy because it turns out that sometimes kids need to practice sentences that have a well-defined structure – like given-when-then-should – and I think this is why we need to bring unconventional things into the workplace, so that people can make these sorts of connections.
  • BDD Warriors and Other Games

    1. 1. Ana Carolina Hermann
    2. 2.  Who  How  Why  What
    3. 3.  Team building  Communication  Trust  Active participation  Prioritize  Tactics and strategy  Creativity  Culture
    4. 4.  A print & play card game available under Creative Commons at    Goals:  Generate interest in BDD  Practice basic syntax  Prevent the zombie apocalypse  Demonstrate the advantage of collaboration
    5. 5. Rules of the game
    6. 6.  From 2 to 6 players  Each receives 5 cards and pick a color of tokens  Whoever saw a SciFi/Fantasy/Horror movie begins, then proceed clockwise
    7. 7. Alice Bobbie Carol 1 pt Then____ should transform into ______ (Player may begin by any clause)
    8. 8. Alice Bobbie Carol 1 pt Then____ should transform into ______ 2 pts When ____________ (Next player may continue OR begin new scenario)
    9. 9. Alice Bobbie Carol 1 pt Then____ should transform into ______ 1 pt Given a vampire ____________ 2 pts When ____________ (Player who played the last card complete the scenario)
    10. 10. Alice Bobbie Carol 1 pt Then____ should transform into ______ 1 pt Given a vampire ____________ 2 pts When ____________ Alice: 1 point (card) + 2 points (completed scenario) Bobbie: 2 points (card) Carol: 1 point (card)
    11. 11. 3 pts ____ ice cream____________ Wildcards Only played to complete a scenario Scenario: Draw two cards Given it's your turn When you play this card Then draw two cards and discard any one card from your hand plus this one Action cards Follow the card instructions
    12. 12.    @bdd_warriors