How to use

The cards feature high-level patterns for mapping your company’s technical and strategic transformation. Put together, the patterns cards guide decision making to help you plot the optimal course of action, accelerating time to value while reducing risk. The patterns cards are intended to spark discussion among developers, managers, and executives as they learn and apply Cloud Native concepts. For first-time users we recommend playing The WealthGrid Game, where you will apply patterns to a fictional company undergoing a typical Cloud Native transformation initiative.

A short version can be played using only the Strategy patterns cards from the deck; this takes about an hour. Or you can use the full deck to explore most, even all, of the 72 patterns along the full course of WealthGrid’s Cloud Native journey. Hint: not all cards will be used. Either approach is a fun, engaging and collaborative way to jump-start learning how to work with patterns.

Helpful tips:
It is a good idea to choose someone to act as facilitator. They hand out materials, keep track of time, and moderate the conversation portions of the game.There are no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ solutions (and therefore no way to win or lose the game). The first purpose of playing is to help people gain a common language (patterns). Patterns help us to express our ideas in easier and more consistent ways.The second purpose of playing with the patterns cards is to trigger conversation within the domain of Cloud Native transformation while exploring the many different paths a CN transformation might take.  

To play the WealthGrid Game, first read about this fictional company:

The WealthGrid Story:
WealthGrid is a successful mid-size financial company that is mostly taking a traditional Waterfall approach, with hierarchical structure and long release cycles for tightly coupled products. It has, however, adopted some Agile practices, like Scrum sprints.  

There are still pretty long cycles of planning and a lot of documentation. While teams are partially independent and even somewhat cross-functional, delivery to production is always done in full coordination. Product owners and enterprise architects are mostly in charge of deciding on technical direction and telling the teams what to deliver and how to do it.

Software is produced as one single monolith, or perhaps a monolith split into a few very large pieces. There is some automation of infrastructure and delivery, but it is done with Puppet/Chef and still requires a lot of manual steps. There is Jenkins doing some builds and running some tests, but a dedicated QA team still must perform manual tests before any release to production.

WealthGrid’s leaders are aware that the technology is going to disrupt their market, and so they want to adopt Cloud Native technologies to be more competitive. To truly succeed, they will also need to evolve their processes, team structures, and other aspects of the company’s organisation and culture—so its engineers can work with their brand new tech in a brand new way.

Instead of working in a hierarchy with highly specialised teams, WealthGrid will need to move to a Cloud Native system. But Cloud Native, though, is very new, and no one in WealthGrid has experience implementing, much less working with such systems. Patterns are the key to creating a collective understanding of the challenge the company faces, the better to build the fastest and most effective path to becoming a new Cloud Native enterprise.

Instructions for the WealthGrid Game:
Note: These instructions are a work in progress. If you have questions (or suggestions for improving/clarifying them), please email us.

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If playing as a large group, divide attendees into smaller groups of three  to six people. Each group gets their own full set of patterns cards.
- Spread all the patterns cards on a table, face up. (If playing the short version of the game: First sort out the 22  Strategy cards from the deck and place them on the table. Set the other cards aside).
- Set a timer for 10 minutes. Each player uses this time to first look over the cards on the table and then choose three of them, picking them up and placing the cards in front of where they are sitting. Ideally these chosen patterns are something the player recognise (maybe from a previous job), or something they want to introduce in their current work.  
- When the time is up, each player takes a turn (a) reading their chosen cards out loud to the others in their group and then (b) briefly explaining why they picked each pattern.
- Now spread out the WealthGrid handout sheet. Ask everyone to quickly read the WealthGrid background story.
- Set a timer for 30 minutes. Players now collaboratively arrange their cards in a timeline that helps WealthGrid move, pattern by pattern, from their current state to reach the Cloud Native goal (marked in red on the matrix) in each of the nine categories. All or part of the cards can be used. Remember: There is no right way to do this. (Important note: WealthGrid can evolve from Waterfall directly to CN without needing to adopt Agile in the middle).
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When the time is up, one person from each small group presents their timeline to the entire gathering.
- Once a timeline has been presented, the facilitator can start a free discussion of the benefits and possible drawbacks of each approach, and compare the results.

Once you’ve practiced placing and ordering the patterns to build a transformation design path for WealthGrid to follow, you are ready for the next step: using the cards to map out your own real-world scenario!

More Guidance for Your Journey  
Container Solutions’ deck of cards features many of the patterns you’ll find in our  forthcoming book, ‘Cloud Native Transformation: Practical Patterns for Innovation’, published by O’Reilly. The book contains a patterns library with full versions of the patterns (expanded from the short versions on the cards) that explain in detail how companies can use them to map their own Cloud Native project.

To learn more about how patterns work, check out this video of our chief technology officer, Pini Reznik, applying them to a case study at the Cloud Native Warsaw conference from September.