Fragile Agile - a cardgame on quality in software development

Quality is a hard concept to get across. People who experienced its lack have learned to appreciate its presence. It is generally only noticed when missing, or when contrasted with its opposite.

You can talk all you want about how incurring technical debt is like taking a loan that needs to be repaid at some time, and how important an automated test suite is, not only to prolong the life of an application, but also to make subsequent iterations cheaper and more reliable. It comes to naught if your counterpart cannot relate to your experiences.

Quality in software development has to be thoroughly experienced in all its forms, to fully grasp its value.

Since we are loth to make people experience the lack of quality in actual software, we have been searching for ways to communicate with our customers about quality.

Enter Fragile Agile, our card game on software development. Here’s how the game works:
“Welcome to Fragile Agile! In this two to four player card game, you take on the role both of a software development house and of the customer commissioning and—ultimately—accepting the newly written software. With help from your pool of talented developers, you seek to develop stories, forging them into the epic you aspire to construct. However, even the best developers make mistakes, and therefore bugs do occur. Building up your software development factory helps you to keep your process under control. Or you can just hope to get away with your low quality product and push all the misery to your unsuspecting customer. Do not forget to pray that your carelessly introduced fatal flaw does not occur during that crucial handover to the customer.

Your objective is to score three epics as fast as possible, while having as few bugs as you can afford. The player who does this best, wins the game.”

We will demo the game at the GOTO conference in Amsterdam on May 24th and 25th. Better yet, we will give a number of games away to those we either have a good discussion with on quality, or those who can win a game of Fragile Agile at the GOTO conference.