This game is a nice alternative to the ball point game, especially when you are travelling. The goal of this exercise is to create and improve a workflow using some of the well known agile techniques like Sprint Planning, Timeboxing, Retrospectives.
- Two card decks of 52 cards that have identical backs (same colour, same pattern, etc.)
- A stop watch
- Space for the team to gather (e.g. some tables or some space on the floor)
- A table on a flipchart or whiteboard with the following columns - estimated time - actual raw time - number of errors - actual time with penalties
How to play
The goal for the team is ordering the 104 cards as follows:
- 8 stacks of cards sorted by the respective suits
- The Ace needs to be on the bottom and the King on top
- The intervening cards need to be in rank order
Start a round by giving 2 minutes for discussing the strategy (“planning”).
After this time
- ask for an estimate for achieving the goal (“How long will it take?”). In the first round you might not get a quick answer, just go ahead and start anyway.
- ask for a single person to give you the stop sign. You’re not supposed to listen to anyone else but this person.
When you got the above answers
- drop the shuffled stack of cards face down on the table or the floor and start the time
- watch the participants use their strategy but don’t interfere
As soon as the dedicated person tells you to do so
- stop the time and write it on the flipchart
- check the resulting stacks for mistakes (“review”). Each mistake in the ranking will result in a penalty of 5 seconds. Add these seconds to the time on the flipchart
Get the team talking (“retrospective”) about how their approach worked by asking a couple of open questions like
- How did it work?
- Can you improve it? How?
- Do all of you see it the same way?
After that give the team 2 minutes for planning, ask for a new estimate and start the next round. Play the game for 3 to 5 rounds as long as the team thinks there’s improvement possbile (or you reach the end of your timebox).