Scrum Gathering London 2011

Scrum Gathering London 2011

Would your team survive a zombie apocalypse?


This was something I was keen to explore, how could I combine my passion for the Zombie genre, gaming and Scrum into something that could be used to help people understand what makes teams tick. Ever since my days as a soldier in the army, I’ve never quite found the same level of total commitment to one another with a group as I had then. It was a conundrum.

For the last few years I’d been playing the video game Left 4 Dead and it’s sequel Left 4 Dead 2 made by those excellent chaps at Valve (interestingly Left 4 Dead started out as a kind of experiment, another interesting topic for another blog post one day). The basics of the game involve 4 players working their way through a series of city areas to reach an evacuation point, all the while avoiding or killing the zombies in their way. The game has a great teamwork emphasis in that when a player takes enough damage they become incapacitated and can only be revived by another player. There are further aspects of this in terms of healing each other and the sharing of certain consumable items. Additionally, the less the players cooperate and look out for one another the less likely it is that any of them will make it (the classic being the one person that runs off on their own almost always winds up dead).

This got me thinking about team dynamics, so I thought I’d do some reading around the subject to reinforce what I already knew from experience. This proved invaluable, especially after reading “The 5 Dysfunctions of a Team” by Patrick Lencioni. This short narrative style book puts my entire military experiences into the words I was looking for. I could instantly relate all my best and worst team working experiences to the 5 layers of dysfunction described in the book.

Which led to me creating a training exercise for teams, based on the game and the book, where they could learn about these aspects in a fun but meaningful way.  2011 was the first year I considered doing something for a gathering and after submitting this session I’m glad I did. I had a great response from the participants, learned a lot and was given great feedback to make the event even better.

Read an attendees review here

Tags: , , ,


  1. Would Your Team Survive the Zombie Apocalypse? « The Upward Spiral - August 20, 2012

    […] James has written his own post about his motivations for creating this session. Check it out here. Share this:Like this:LikeBe the first to like this. Explore posts in the same categories: Agile, […]

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: