What's A Waza Anyway?

Andrew Cox
September 15, 2021

Storytelling: Directly from Wikipedia, it's the social and cultural activity of sharing stories, sometimes with improvisation, theatrics or embellishment. Every culture has its own stories or narratives, which are shared as a means of entertainment, education, cultural preservation or instilling moral values.

It was also the theme for our latest Waza that wrapped up just before lock down.

What's a Waza anyway?

Waza is a Japanese word meaning technique. We use this phrase to emphasise that our Waza is about exploring good techniques — in code, in delivery and in collaboration and ideation.

As EndGame's Simon Duffield outlines in his latest blog, Wazas form a key part of the learning and mastery journey for all people at EndGame.

In another article, I've outlined how we approach Waza at Endgame.

Briefly it runs like this:

1: The company comes together to brainstorm a theme - in this case storytelling.
2: Once a theme has been decided, each person pitches an idea based around the theme to the rest of the company.
3: Pitches are then voted on to form a shortlist of 3–5 ideas.
4: Teams are formed to work on one idea — meeting three times to plan and refine their idea
5: Finally, the big day of building and fun! Teams have 24 hours to bring their ideas to life.

At the end of the time period, the goal is to produce some alpha software.

But it's not only about creating working software. Waza gives people the ability to practice skills that we might not get to use in the course of our jobs, and the opportunity to work with other people at EndGame that they may not ordinarily work with.

So how did it go?

After the planning, the doing, and the last minute scramble was out of the way, the dust cleared for pitch time.
As a result some amazing ideas were showcased by the teams:

ChurBrew V2
Operating on the basis of building something for a place where people already meet. Chur Brew V2 included a display that not only shows the amount of coffee left in the jug, but also offers people nearby conversation tips, techniques and conversation topics in order for people to get started have meaningful interactions. And if that fails, the screen can always show a range of GIFs...

By providing real time feedback, Claphony is a IoT device that aims to encourage greater participation in the age old technique of motivating people - the humble clap.

Used to conclude meetings, the rating scale encourages people to clap more enthusiastically, therefore increasing the overall positive effect on the group involved.

An interactive game featuring a bug squashing dog fuelled by coffee and burdened by timesheets can only mean one thing... An opportunity to explore and connect using the premise of the software development cycle to illustrate the journey in an engaging and humorous way.

Upon successfully completing the game, EndDog can then send the project to launch mode!

The Engine
What is the only thing better than telling a story? Having a story told to you automatically!

Right from the start when selecting your own character, to making your choice to navigate your way through the storyline, The Engine is a digital version of the pick a path adventure paperbacks popular in the 80s.

Questions are important, question evoke our memories, and our memories are the building blocks of what it is to be human.Our memories form chunks. These chunks make up our lives.

This is the thought process behind LifeChunks. An online platform utilising a series of questions on various stages of a person's life, Life Chunks enables people to record their experiences and memories to share with other important people in their lives. Complete with a helpful assistant that offers motivational tips to share more and record additional memories, recording your own life chunks has never been easier!

EndGame.The Board Game
Telling the story of the product development process is the aim of Endgame - The Board Game. Prioritising, developing and deploying product features is all part of the game.

Complete with all the ups and down of the product development process, but combining it in the board game concept, the winner will be found by the team that release the most product features!

What happens next?

While it was great to see some working software come out of what is undoubtedly a pressure situation, Waza also again delivered an opportunity for people to develop and test out new skills. This was all done in a fun and enjoyable environment with their peers.

We've always held a strong belief that this type of learning has huge benefits for our people when they step into their own day to day roles, encouraging them to put their newly found skills into action to help our partners succeed with their own business ideas.

Stay tuned for the next Waza!

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