Coin Sorting

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Timing: 20 mins


  • Many coins of varying denominations


A customer wants to hire the subcontracting vendor who provides the quickest estimate to sorting a bag of coins. Have teams of participants bid on the project by shouting out bids (in seconds). Let all the teams attempt the exercise and hold them to their bids by timing them. After they have finished, point out that what the customer actually wanted, was to have the coins sorted by date, not denomination.

Learning Points:

  • Timelines are often set without due diligence.
  • Assumptions are often made without involving the customer. These assumptions may hold true all the way to production.
  • If a team had first sorted a sample of coins and demonstrated for feedback, the problem would have been caught before it became too costly.

Posted by Don McGreal

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One Response to "Coin Sorting"
  • Carlton Nettleton December 27, 2010 at 1:12 pm

    Invariably, someone asks “Can we sort by date?” or wants to show you their coins before time is called. Ideas on how to respond that does not seem overly pedagogical?

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    Rating: 5.0/5 (1 vote cast)
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