Agile Improv for Team Engagement

Agile Improv for Team Engagement

By: Giovanna Berry | Director of Delivery

We’re living in a time in history where team engagement is of utmost importance, yet one of the biggest obstacles faced in delivering innovative and quality solutions. To combat the disengagement of team members and monotony that can result from unchanging facilitation techniques within Agile teams, Agile improv games have emerged. Implementing Agile improv games among your teams is likely to yield highly positive results for your organization, and result in a ton of fun for your team members.

Agile improv leverages fundamental aspects of improvisational theater (AKA improv) to teach team members the skills needed to be great collaborators. Among these skills and attributes are thinking on your feet, being in motion, creativity, and active listening. Agile improv can be used for ice breakers on new teams, to build inter-team connections, teach team members how to be good listeners (and the importance of listening), and help build trust among the team.

For the purpose of this article, we’ll cover one sample game to pique your interest in exploring these techniques further, and share our findings for how it’s been helpful on our teams. To help expedite connecting new team members to one another, building name and personal interest recognition, we’ve implemented the following “ice breaker” type improv exercise in new teams:

The Name and Personal Interest Gesture Game:

  • Each person says their name and makes a gesture to indicate an activity, sport, etc. that embodies them or that they enjoy.
  • You begin with the first person saying their name and making their gesture.
  • Each subsequent person must say their name and make their personal gesture, as well as complete the same for all of the previous people before them.
  • Once you’ve completed one full round, including each team member, begin skipping around.
  • Say someone’s name and make their gesture to pass it to them, and they will accept it by repeating yours.

This game has been amazing for working out the kinks of a new team by bringing up the

energy level and allowing everyone a safe space to begin getting to know each other. This is all done outside of the context of what they will be working on together to help build camaraderie and personal connections that are important to overall trust. This is by no means the end game for achieving all of that, but it’s certainly a fun and solid start. Give it a shot with your own teams and let us know what types of results you received!

References:

https://marahrosenberg.files.wordpress.com/2017/03/2017-winning-improv-games.pdf

https://management30.com/blog/improv-exercises-agile-team-collaboration/

 

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