8 Monkeys in a Cage – a Mura Learning Game

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Timing: 20 minutes


Mura is one of three fundamental Lean principles. In short, it’s about unnecessary variations. It states that people are more productive when not dealing with unnecessary variations. Playing this game should help people to feel a situation when variation is unproductive.

Learning Points:

Ask some of participants how they felt during the first session (with different monkeys) and how they felt during a second session (with only one monkey). What was faster? Which session was more stressful?

After this, let them understand that a task was to draw 8 monkeys, not to draw 8 different monkeys. So it means these variations were unnecessary. Also, it is important to say that a real reason why they were faster during a second session was because they learned how to deal with this monkey.

Help participants to correlate this situation to a real world examples:

  • one of the worst situation are unnecessary variations in product backlog. It generates stress and makes us less self-confident during estimations. That’s why we need a balanced flow
  • it is relatively often that people implement multiple, slightly different implementations for a same problem. We don’t need such variations. In that case, we should use “a same monkey” – a component
  • ask participants to add more real world examples of unnecessary variations

Link to Game: http://zvonekriz.com/8-monkeys-in-a-cage-a-mura-learning-game/

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2 Responses to "8 Monkeys in a Cage – a Mura Learning Game"
  • Tim Yevgrashyn October 31, 2015 at 3:54 am

    Hi Zvonimir,

    Is it possible to place explicitly or attach the game description to this post?
    The link you mentioned is showing Internal Server Error and it breaks the whole idea of sharing a game here, as I can’t use the game :-)


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  • Fabrice Aimetti November 10, 2015 at 2:11 pm

    @Tim I’ve updated the link :)

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