Here are two marshmallow towers built by two different teams.
Team 1 managed to create an engineering marvel. I loved the base which looked like a tent with 5 base sticks. It also extended from there with an inverted triangle followed by a regular triangle. The entire structure was held in place using a red string you see on the side. The marshmallow rests proudly on the top.
Team 2 went straight for the goal “tallest freestanding structure”. The base does not look stable but it does the job. The multiple spaghetti together seem to provide strength to the structure. The second level bends likes the leaning tower of pisa. But it was the “tallest freestanding structure”
Both teams had a short Retrospective which was spent in grabbing more beers and talking about other things than ideating to create the next tallest freestanding structure. This is very similar to Retrospectives wherein we discuss things which are not related to the Sprint Goals. Focus on Sprint Goals during Retrospectives is very important.
Team 1 kept their initial concept and switched from tape to string which did not help because in the second iteration the structure collapsed.
The structure collapses, because very often we forget the fact that the icing on the cake can break the cake. The trick is to be able to test it beforehand. Our QA environments should provide this opportunity in a safe manner to test the Marshmallow on the tip of the tower.
Team 2 used the same concept in two iterations and managed to have the tallest freestanding structure.
Sometimes a winning method may just be repeated.
- How often do we have a Sprint Goal that is simple but we tend to complicate it with our existing knowledge and need to overengineer.
- Laser focus on the Sprint Goal would help a team understand that delivery on that is what matters
Have you played the Marshmallow Tower game yet?
Look how the Marshmallow got grilled later 🙂