Course No. D2, Period 4
Soft skill development is crucial as a separator between success and failure as your career progresses. Sadly, some skills (such as conflict resolution, hiring/firing, or negotiation) can only be practiced “in the moment”, and unless your job is fraught with these types of situations, you may not advance your skills in these areas as fast as needed.
This course focuses on providing fun, repeatable activities that help improve these “hard to train” skill sets. Each one creates a safe, repeatable situation where each player can try, fail, and learn. Along with the activities, we’ll take a look at the core behavioral patterns for these soft skills and introduce connections between the activities, how the circumstances change, and how this relates to your career and goals.
Along with all the lecture, attendees will walk away with copies of the games so that they can facilitate them with their own teams at work.
Day 1: Intros and The Chaos of Teamwork
The “Too Many Droids” activity helps immerse the team in highly stressful, simulated chaos to accomplish personal activities and help the team accomplish its goals. In this activity players will realize that their strategies for “getting things done” falls apart once the stakes get high enough. As a team they will have to come together, develop a plan for communication, resource sharing, and what to do when things go from bad, to worse.
Day 2: Stress, Triage and Better Teamwork
“Unicorn or Bust!” is an activity that builds resilience against the day-to-day chaos of projects & problems. In this activity players take the role of a new startup company trying to go 52 weeks from startup to IPO. Along the way, the team will have to share resources, agree on strategy, and try to solve problems before they run out of funding.. or worse!
Day 3: Communicating with Empathy and Intention
“Ship it!” is an activity that helps develop empathetic communication. In this activity, players will quickly have to realize that their team members don’t share the same mental model about how the game should be played, and will have to take it upon themselves to modify their communication process. Giving the wrong information, worded in the wrong way, could spell disaster!
Day 4: Dealing with Transitions
“Re- org” activity that helps players move through planning their impact- focused work, while dealing with unexpected consequences from an administrative level. Your goal is to become the most valuable engineer at your company, which you do by taking on and completing projects. The problem? Every year a re-org happens, and you’ve got a new manager who changes the company priorities. Learn how to adapt to chaos in the workplace, changing design requirements, and how to build a career that can withstand any re-org.
Day 5: Putting it all together
Day 5 brings an activity that binds together all of the lessons of the week into a single exercise. “Favortown” is a collaborative card game that focuses on hyper-restricted communication to accomplish a shared goal – The team is tasked with accomplishing a set of large goals, where each team member has a unique skill that’s required to solve the problems. The trick? No talking allowed. Teams will use all the skills from this week to plan, negotiate, deal with problems, empathize and deal with the chaos of day-to-day problems, all in 10 minutes at a time.
Senior Staff Developer Advocate, Google
Colt McAnlis is an industry expert on Performance systems & Data Compression across Web, Mobile and Cloud platforms. Before that, he was a graphics engineer in the games industry working at Blizzard, Microsoft (Ensemble), and Petroglyph.
He’s been an Adjunct Professor at SMU Guildhall; Pioneered Google’s approach to MOOC courses (twice), and is a Book Author (twice). He’s also defined Google’s approach to developer relations through video content, having created over 300 pieces of content for 4.5 million combined views.