Software Engineering Institute | Carnegie Mellon University
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White Paper

The Hard Choices Game Explained

  • Abstract

    The Hard Choices game is a simulation of the software development cycle meant to communicate the concepts of uncertainty, risk, and technical debt. In the quest to become market leader, players race to release a quality product to the marketplace. By the end of the game, everyone has experienced the implications of investing effort to gain an advantage or of paying a price to take shortcuts, as they employ design strategies in the face of uncertainty. The audience for this paper is the facilitator of the game who is using it for educational purposes to communicate principles of technical debt and architectural investment. The paper provides instructions for playing the game, suggestions for changing the game to add more learning opportunities, and topics for discussion of what the game reveals about the development cycle for a piece of software

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