Alaskan Road Trip

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Timing: 30 mins


  • Map with driving directions from Dallas, Texas to Anchorage, Alaska (4000 miles)


Each team needs to get to Anchorage to surprise their true love, who is working there. They must create a plan: timeline, what to bring, budget, etc.
Have each team present their plan. Look for over planning (hotel reservations for each night, where to eat, etc.) and under planning (no passport, no miles per day goal, etc.). Ask the teams what they would do if they found out half-way through the trip that their true love has just been transferred 2000 miles away in another direction.

Learning Points:

  • The ROI on detailed planning isn’t always there. It is near impossible to predict and to plan for every stop, every meal, every incident encountered on a road trip. But we can prepare for one day at a time, and inspect and adapt as we go.
  • Correlate the change in plans with software development and how when the customers needs change, we must be able to adapt. This is in contrast to continuing on with the initial plan which may no longer be of any use to the customer (shelved software).
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One Response to "Alaskan Road Trip"
  • matauy October 7, 2011 at 6:46 am

    I played this one with graduate students in an Agile software development course.

    Interestingly, all of the groups produced a detailed City by City non-agile plan.
    I Added a deadline restriction to the instructions. They had 3 days to complete the trip.

    During the debriefing, I asked:
    -> Is it feasible?
    Only one group had taken into account mileage, car average speed and gas consumption.
    -> Do you consider this to be an “agile plan”?
    They all agreed it was not.
    Which gave way to reviewing velocity (average of the car) city distances on the map (user stories and story points), and skill of the driver (self-directed team).

    The game was completed in 30 minutes!

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