Everyone has some part of their job they dislike. In our recent retrospective at Growing Agile we decided it was admin. Inspired by @portiatung at Play4Agile, Sam suggested we turn our admin time into fun time. So we blocked out time in our calendars for Play Time. Here’s what we did for our first Play Time session.

The opposite of fun is not work, it’s depression!

We believe work can be fun, and when it is you get more done.

First we wrote post it notes for all the admin tasks we needed to do. We noted which had to be done by one of us specifically, but tried to keep most tasks things we could both do. We then prioritised the order of the tasks.

Our admin task list

Remember playing this?

Then we drew us a board of squares for the game. Any of you remember that game from when you were a kid, where you dropped in red or yellow pieces into a blue grid to try to get 4 in a row? Apparently it was called “Four in a row”. Well that’s the game we used as inspiration. We drew up a grid on flipchart paper. The pieces were the post-it notes of completed tasks. We added another sticky to indicate who had done the task. When you finished a task you got to play a turn. The goal was to get 4 in a row of tasks completed by you. The person with the most sets of 4 in a row at the end won.

Our game board: Let the game begin!

We set a timer for a one hour timebox, and off we went. It was amazing how focused we were on getting the tasks finished, instead of getting distracted by all sorts of things, which usually happens when we do admin. We added new tasks as we discovered them and agreed where to insert them in the priority. To prevent us from cheating by picking the quick and easy tasks, the rule was you had to pick up the next task in the priority order unless it was a task the other person had to do.

The final score! Sam wins.

The result? Well the one hour timer rang, we got 18 tasks done, probably more than double what we would have done in a regular hour. Final score: Karen 1 row of 4, Sam 2 rows of 4. So game 1 went to Sam. The prize? Sam gets to pick which book we will buy for Growing Agile next.

Here is our challenge to you: Can you create a game to make something you don’t enjoy doing more fun?

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