What agile teams can learn from World of Warcraft: parallels, differences and lessons

You are not authorized to post comments.
Session Type: 
Standard [35 minutes]

What does an online roleplaying game have to do with working on an agile team? As it turns out, a great deal. Running around a fantasy world killing monsters with a group of like-minded gamers has a surprising amount of parallels with the activities for planning, task management and communication that happen in agile teams. By looking at the similarities and differences, we can find out whether we can apply concepts from the game to teams to make our processes and teams better.

World of Warcraft is a highly successful online roleplaying game. Players create characters with abilities based on race, class, activities, equipment and level. The game is structured around quests and rewards for their completion. Individual questing is possible but more complex activities require self-organizing groups in which players receive roles to achieve their goal. Often, role flexibility is required.

Agile, on the other hand, is a highly successful real-life way of managing production. Team members have abilities based on background, activities and experience. Work is structured around tasks with goals to be completed. Some activities can be done alone, but generally a whole-team approach is required. People are assigned roles to achieve their goal. Often, role flexibility is required.

In the first part of this Alex looks at concepts from World of Warcraft that have direct parallels for agile teams, including Duality of Roles, Team Building, Sustainability, “Quest” granularity, and Tools. Afterwards, she takes a look at the differences, such as: Lack of Dungeon Guides, Reliance on Specific Team Members, and No Flying Dragons.

Once the similarities and differences have been dealt with, we look at the reasons why the collaboration to achieve goals in the fantasy world works so well, why it perhaps doesn’t always work so well in real life, and what we could do to change that. We consider whether roles on an agile team can be compared to roles or classes in World of Warcraft (are testers healers or damage dealers ;) ?), and what conclusions can be drawn from such comparisons.

Schedule info



ALM Connect
Experience level: 


Thanks for the awesome +1 ;)


Alex, I absolutely love this. If it's not selected, I'm boycotting the event in protest ;o)

Copyright © 2013 The Eclipse Foundation. All Rights Reserved.