The Dream Team Nightmare @portiatung

It has been many, many years since I've read my own choose-your-own adventure book.  (I read one with the kids and they ended up getting stuck, as there was a puzzle embedded in the adventure.) I had picked up Portia Tung's The Dream Nightmare a while back and finally selected it from my reading queue. What a pleasurable, quick, fun read.  From the story line:

Today is your first day at Love Inc. You've just been introduced to your new team as their Agile Coach. The team calls themselves The Dream Team. You are responsible for coming up with a plan to get the team back on track to achieve their project goals.

The book attempts to teach some lessons by engaging the reader in thinking about what to do at critical junctures. Do you - the consultant - dive right in or ask for more information? Do you let ideas arise from a team or suggest your own? Do you go for a walk to clear your head, or stop by the office of someone you wanted to meet? … It wasn't always obvious what the "right" answer should be - or if there was a correct answer.

I also liked that the book described how this particular consultant uses the various tools of the trade - tools that I am particularly fond of as well: kanbans to help organize discussions; current- and future- reality trees; asking why, why…; socratic questioning; stepping back for review.  And lots and lots of sticky notes.  There was even a scene where someone complained about the messiness of a card wall (and resulting disinclination to engage with it) - I've had similar experiences.

The story is written in the 2nd person, which is unusual, but it fits with the choose-your-own adventure style, as it asks you (the reader) to make decisions from time to time.  Given the style, I am fairly sure I didn't read all the words in the book. But then, that isn't the point.  I did make it to the "successful" conclusion of the story.  Of course, I managed to make several "uh oh" decisions that ended the adventure prematurely. Happily, the story redirects you to the decision point, and you can try again.

3 Comment(s)

Mark McGuire Author Profile Page said:

Hi Jack

I was drawn to your blog from your Twitter profile (I am interested in constraints but haven't checked out what you have to say about that yet).

Yes, I remember the "which Way" books from years ago (Superman 1) picks up the Kryptonite, 2) Runs away, or 3) throws the Kryptonite into a lead box - each option taking the reader to a different page). I have two boys (10 and 13) and I've really enjoyed discovering (and rediscovering) wonderful children's' books. We've kept the classics, even though the boys have long outgrown them are reading on Kindles now as much as ripping through traditional books for boys their age.

I followed the link to "The Dream Nightmare" and will probably buy it, as it isn't a risky proposition at the price. Another interesting publishing model, too, I see.

I have to get the boys up and get the day started (they are on a two-week holiday at the moment, but I am not). I'll check out your blog further.



Portia Tung said:

Hi Jack,

Many thanks for reviewing "The Dream Team Nightmare"!

It would great to hear which of the ideas you found most interesting and which ones you've tried implementing as a result.


Thanks for stopping by, Portia.

I've done many of the things I came across in your book. I liked the clear reinforcement of making the solution something that everyone comes up with. TOC and Agile (as I am learning) are really about coaching people into the a frame of mind that helps them create the solution with you.

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