Operations work can be hard to view with an agile lens. Work can be very interrupt-driven which makes it difficult to demo regularly relative to more project-oriented work.

Rally Health has offices spread from coast to coast and our DevOps engineers are split up between all of them and embedded in product teams. As a result, we weren’t regularly seeing or hearing each other and a frequent lament at retrospective was “I don’t know what XYZ is doing”. Status meetings weren’t working; they are boring and it is too easy to tune out.

So we started Weekly Show and Tell.

How to play:

Rules for Organizers

  1. Set up a weekly recurring meeting for 30 minutes with everyone you want to participate. Friday afternoon is a great time for socializing.
  2. Create a slide deck (Google Slides works well) and share it with the team.
  3. Ask everyone to make a slide at some point in the week.

Rules for Participants

  1. Create 1 slide that represents your work for the week.
  2. You may use the template slide as a starting point.
  3. Present it when it’s your turn.
  4. You have 90 seconds. Follow up questions are encouraged OFFLINE. No questions or comments in the time allotted.
  5. At the end, there will be a quiz, so take short notes as people talk.

Playing the game

D6, D8, D10, D12, D20 dice, AKA nerd-dice D6, D8, D10, D12, D20 dice, AKA nerd-dice

The person leading this meeting will do the following:

  1. Bring these materials:
    • Shared Slide deck
    • Countdown timer with audible alarm (phones work great) set to a 90 second countdown
    • N-sided dice where N is the number of attendees (d10 and d20 are good)
  2. Announce that it’s closed laptop time and that everyone is expected to pay attention.
  3. Set the clock and write down the name of the first presenter with their order number.
  4. Let them talk for 90s or whenever they’re finished. If they go over 90s they will hear the alarm. The facilitator must be MERCILESS with the alarm. All in good fun.
  5. Repeat step 3 until everyone has gone.
  6. Write down any remaining attendees.
  7. Roll to determine who will be asked about a presentation.
  8. Roll again to determine who they will be asked about.
  9. Pose the question “Hey, {Person}, what did {Other person} do this week?”
  10. If they answer correctly, “You get a point.” If they don’t know “You FAIL” (points don’t matter but the result is real).
  11. Repeat steps 7-10 for 5 rounds or so.
  12. Thank everyone, remind them to follow up with any questions to the specific people, and end the call.

It’s important to reduce the delay as much as possible between each of these steps. The more you delay, the more opportunity people have to let their mind wander, and the less engaging it will be. If you keep everyone on their toes, the meeting will finish early!

The Results

You get 20 people presenting their work in 30 minutes or less in a fun atmosphere. Because the dice select the quizzes, no one feels picked on. Racing the clock to give your update is a game in itself, and hearing people’s summation of other’s work is highly entertaining.

Encourage the team to include personal flairs if they like. Having fun while informing is the whole point!

Information is shared quickly and effectively Information is shared quickly and effectively

Stranger Things can happen Stranger Things can happen

Let us know if you try it!