MDD

Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Exercise: Battleship as a metaphor for Plans or Planning

Exploring the difference between design and designing, or  plan and planning.

Step 1:
Individuals produce one or more up-front plans using provided blank sheets.

Step 2:
Open the playable version of battleship on GitHub.
Enter each up-front plan using the 40 shots per iteration game.

Step 3:
Enter your results in the survey form (survey form here)
Look at and discuss the results (data spreadsheet here)

Step 4:
Allocate 'iteration ranges' to individuals or groups and ask them to attempt to obtain the best possible result.
Continue to capture the result of each game in the survey form (survey form here)
Look at and discuss the results (data spreadsheet here)

Discussion:
What might 'design' be with respect to this game?
What might 'strategy' be with respect to this game?
What might 'project planning' be with respect to this game?
What (if anything) might this exercise highlight for projects in general?

Notes and References:

The members of Zilverblog have developed a simple version of the Battleship game, written in Javascript, as a tool to illustrate a number of ideas that seem to be relevant to planning systems development. For example:
The difference between Plans and Planning
The value of feedback
Cost and reward
The size of an effort versus the payback in terms of information
The game-like nature of projects (like pinball, the goal is to play again?)

From the Zilverblog The Power of Feedback in Scrum:
Update: Now also direct playable on GitHub.
"Board layouts are random and you get 40 shots in total to destroy the enemy’s fleet. After each iteration you get feedback about hits and misses. If you use iterations of 1, you are playing the regular battleship-game. Each shot costs 10.000 and when you sink a ship you get the_ships_size * 50.000 (e.g. the submarine of size 3 will reward you with 150.000). If you keep track of the balance after each iteration, you could also try to get across the idea that stopping after a few iterations might give ‘good enough’ rewards. It can be downloaded from our GitHub repository as a zip or you can take a look at our code. Just double click on the index.html (in the public folder) to start a game."