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GLOSSARY: A Framegame for Reviewing Concepts

Copyright © 1997, Sivasailam Thiagarajan. All rights reserved.

Remember the DICTIONARY game in which the players try to fool the others with their fictional definitions of esoteric words? Here's a version of the game for reviewing technical terms from your workshop.

You can play GLOSSARY with any number of people from 3 to 30. With up to 6 people, play this as an individual game. With 6-30 people, divide them into three or more teams of approximately equal numbers.

The game description that follows is for the individual version. You should have no difficulty modifying it for the team version.

Each round of this game requires 3 minutes. Play at least three rounds.

Select a technical term (for example, performance gap). Distribute index cards to all players. Give 2 minutes for each player to write down a definition of the term, imitating the textbook definition that would be found in a the glossary section of a technical manual. Ask the players to put their initials on their definition cards. While the players are busy, copy the official glossary entry from the technical manual.

After 2 minutes, collect everyone's definition cards. Mix the official card with the others, shuffle them, and read one card at a time. Ask the players to try to identify the official definition from the technical manual.

Read each card again. After reading the card, ask players if anyone thinks it is the official card. Write down the number of players selecting each card.

This is how the scoring goes:

Play the game for a prespecified number of rounds. Use a different technical term for each round. For example, I used these terms for the next five rounds: internal customer, input standards, process map, metric, and root cause.

At the end of the last round, the player with the highest score is the winner.

GLOSSARY forces individuals and teams to review the critical features of various technical concepts. You can apply it to any technical subject-matter area.