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Luke Hohmann - Awesome Super Problems


The agile values and practices we all hold dear give us more than the ability to tackle problems associated with software development. They give us the ability to tackle Awesome Superproblems. These are problems that are bigger than a


n one person and get worse through inaction. However, when we make progress on solving Awesome Superproblems we find that new patterns that can be applied to solve classes of similar problems.

In this keynote Luke will show the collaborative, social, and serious games that have their roots in the Agile Community have blossomed into multidimensional frameworks that are being used by agilists around the world to solve awesome superproblems. Without any special superpowers except a willingness to try.


  • Content rating (0-no new ideas, 5 - a new ideas/approach, 9-new ideas): 4
  • Style rating (0-average presentstion, 5 - my level, 9-I learned something about presenting): 4

Action / Learning

  • Send this to Troy - community based budgeting approach
  • Find out about prune the product tree game - plus see scrum alliance results
  • Read innovation games again?



Prioritize the city budget $100,000,000 of San Jose

Surveys suck Not collaborative

How make a collaborative

Need a goal Field of play Resources Way to interact with each other Voluntary interaction

Same qualities as a game

Serious game - designed for purpose other than entertainment Games are ideal collaboration

Buy a feature, with mods

Green sheets - disable things people want Red sheets - cut to get money

Unanimous agreement on red sheet item before you can buy use money to something

SME answer questions on the proposal

Actionable data Helped the city move forward


Accomplish much bigger goals

Citizens - we love this

Add sales tax Each table can add one proposal

Set up non-profit “Every voice engaged” - 2012

2013 - expanded to 19 tables

Budget games with my city - Juergen de smit

2014 - do online 102 residents - 21 online games

What think about online Better than in person on games Could hear everyone Better focus on task Came down to facts - not body language

No video But compelling engagement

Distributed teams to scale Yes, and …

Not one and done Over 4 years

How can we help out city grow

Prune the product tree

Great neighborhoods project

Agile collaborative frameworks

Are you a monopoly-but Free parking - get money Can do trade any time Mod the game to play longer

Amy Cuddy

Super hero pose “I am a game designer”

Scrum mod (or whatever framework you use)

How far can we push the mods

Here's the question How do we deal with school overcrowding?

Technical problems Clearly defined Shorter repeating Failure not catastrophic Can change

Which problems Long time horizon Interia Failure catastrophic Multiple actors Driven by beliefs

Do we have wicked problems in business Late software Massive technical debt …

50% of strategic business decisions fail Don't create options Don't evaluate …

Deliberate forum Guide offered Then discuss - deliberate

Can we scale “deliberate”

Collaboration is 5-8 people If you have 100 people, lots of collaboration event

Kettering Foundation

Find patterns to take action

Technical debt

Options Rewrite - lundy's law - any group of programmers given enough time will justify a rewrite Buy software Poor collaboration

Scaling agile Choose one of the existing ones Best five / worst five (practices) - pick the ones to improve, don't do the worst Re-architect the organization

Reorganizes my software / my company. Same thing different level.


Speed boat

Try it for performance reviews

Scale means “go online”

Redness of dot is worseness, greenness is goodness Circles and soup (soup is where enterprise

Retrospective - how do improve our city

Book - Kathleen grant. What in the game (recovery for recovery)

Eg game “remember the future” for financial issues

Collaboration superheroes

Play two games to change the world On something I care about

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