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Frontmatter Podcast Episode #287: Marc Bless, Co-Author of Agile Games and Simulations: Field-tested games for Scrum Masters and Agile Coaches
Frontmatter Podcast Episode #287: Marc Bless, Co-Author of Agile Games and Simulations: Field-tested games for Scrum Masters and Agile Coaches

Keywords: podcast, interview, Frontmatter

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Written by Leanpub Support
Updated over a week ago

In this interview, Leanpub co-founder Len Epp (https://twitter.com/lenepp) talks with Marc (https://twitter.com/marcbless) about his background and career, his book, the nature and power of Agile games and simulations for improving team productivity, and his experience as a co-author.

This interview was recorded on March 11, 2024.

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About the Book

This book is a comprehensive toolbox of games and simulations for anyone facilitating workshops on agile methods. A selection of tried and tested games with direct reference to agile principles. It describes the preparation, required material, process, follow-up and pitfalls of each game.

The significantly expanded new edition now also contains online versions of many games and simulations, and provides instructions, tools, and tricks on how to play them remotely.

Games and simulations are important tools for Agile Coaches and Scrum Masters and belong in the toolbox of Agile facilitators. This book describes a selection of agile games that have proven particularly effective in practice. The games illustrate agile principles and practices.

Marc Bless and Dennis Wagner - both of whom have worked as agile coaches for many years - first explain what to consider when facilitating agile games and when which game can be used. They then present games that serve to teach agile principles, simulate agile practices, or facilitate communication. In addition, games for opening, loosening up and closing agile workshops are described, as well as quite some energizers for in-between.

This expansion of the paperback "Agile Games - in a nutshell" contains a number of new games and the new chapter "Technical Skills" with games for teaching agile development practices. It also shows which games can also be played online and what should basically be considered when doing so.

About the Authors

Marc Bless

Marc Bless embarked on his software development journey in 1984, a time when the digital realm was still in its nascent stages. By the 90s, he delved deep into the world of computer science, specializing in the intriguing domain of artificial intelligence. This was a testament to his forward-thinking approach, always staying ahead of the curve.

As the new millennium approached, Marc was already immersing himself in Agile methodologies, having been an advocate since 1999. His expertise doesn't just lie in understanding Agile but in imparting its wisdom. He has been instrumental in coaching both decision-makers and implementers, guiding them through the labyrinth of Agile frameworks and the nuances of contemporary development practices.

Marc's credentials are a testament to his dedication and prowess in the field. He is not only a qualified Solution-Focused Coach but also holds certifications as a SAFe 6.0 SPC, Certified Enterprise Coach (CEC), and Certified Team Coach (CTC) from the esteemed Scrum Alliance.

The entrepreneurial spirit in Marc led him to establish agilecoach.de. With a staggering experience spanning over two decades as an Agile Coach, Scrum Master, and software developer, he has donned multiple hats - that of a leader, a lateral thinker, and an inquisitive questioner. His undying passion lies in the rapid and enduring enhancement of teams and organizations. For Marc, quality isn't just a metric; it's the cornerstone of success. He staunchly believes in its non-negotiable nature.

Marc's expertise isn't confined to a singular industry. While he has significant experience applying agile methods in the regulated realm of medical technology, his versatility shines through his extensive work across various sectors. Whether it's top-tier executives or grassroots teams, Marc possesses the unique ability to articulate agile transformation processes in a manner that resonates with all.

His commitment to the agile community is unwavering. As a regular speaker at international conferences, he shares insights on agile paradigms, further establishing his thought leadership. Marc's academic pursuits in General Computer Science are complemented by a slew of certifications, including Certified Scrum Professional (CSP), Certified Scrum Master (CSP-SM), Certified Scrum Product Owner (CSP-PO), and Project Manager (IPMA).

In essence, Marc Bless is not just a professional; he's a visionary, an innovator, and an agile evangelist, dedicated to steering the digital world towards a more agile and efficient future.

Dennis Wagner

Dennis has been passionate about software (and product) development since he sold his first software product at the age of 17 – that was 30 years ago (yes, he's got plenty of experience). Over the years, he's worn various hats, including Architect, Team Lead, Developer, and Product Manager, successfully improving software development practices. Eventually, he transitioned into the roles of consultant and coach.

One of Dennis's most significant accomplishments is leveraging Agile methodologies to deliver tangible results. He's seen firsthand how Agile can significantly boost team productivity and outcomes – a North Star he's committed to helping others reach. Dennis firmly believes that everyone deserves a fulfilling work experience, just as he's been fortunate to have in his career.

Open-minded, outgoing, and a dedicated Agilist since his introduction to XP and Scrum many years ago, Dennis can hardly believe it's been almost two decades in this field alone.

In addition to his work with companies, Dennis actively participates in national and international conferences, organizing events, serving on program committees, giving talks, and conducting reviews. He's deeply involved in the Agile community, including the Scrum Alliance and its German-speaking chapter, the Kanban Community, and the Kanban University, as well as the Scaled Agile Framework. Dennis holds numerous certifications from these organizations, but more importantly, he brings extensive real-world experience to these areas.

Today, he serves as an end-to-end consultant, helping teams, leaders, and organizations discover and unlock their full potential. His expertise spans a wide range of topics, from cutting-edge concepts like #NoEstimates, Beyond Budgeting, Enterprise Services Planning, OKRs, and Strategy Development to classic methodologies like Scrum, Kanban, and Clean Code.

Dennis can be reached at *dennis.wagner@dwcg-consulting.de*.

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