Sr. Cara Feliz

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Timing 60 mins

To see some photos of this game being players, check out these from the Edmonton Agile Users Group:


Per team of 4-6

  • Two big stacks of blue and yellow paper (8.5’ X 11’)
  • Two glue sticks per team
  • Two to Three pairs of scissors per team
  • Roll of tape


We are in the business of making paper faces. The face is composed of;

  • a blue oval face (cut from 1/4 of the page)
  • yellow eyes either two triangles or two rectangles
  • a yellow mouth, either a triangle or rectangle

We have four models;

  • The Mike – triangle eyes triangle mouth
  • The Don – rectangle eyes,rectangle mouth
  • The Aleem – triangle eyes, rectangle mouth
  • The Jessica – rectangle eyes, triangle mouth

First Run – Push Process

Decide up front what the market will buy of the above models, write these down but do no share with participants. The team will make a best guess of what the market will buy and they set up an assembly line:

  1. a face is cut from the blue paper
  2. draw a face representing one of the models above (this is the requirement)
  3. The appropriate eyes are affixed
  4. The appropriate mouth is affixed
  5. The face is taped to the wall (delivered to market)

Have each team build at least one face to ensure they understand what they are doing before starting the clock. Let them run for 4-5 minutes. After the time is up, unveil the actual orders from the market and have the teams calculate their Net based on the following:

  • Every face they sold = $400
  • Every unsold completed face = <$200>
  • Every unsold eye = <$25>
  • Every unsold mouth = <$50>
  • Every uncompleted face = <$100>

Some will make a little money, most will be deep in the red and some will have broken even. Discuss the business model and what happens to a business that produces product and inventory that its on a shelf.

Second Run – Pull Process

This time the team will work within a system that only builds product when orders come in from the market Have each team set up the following assembly line with the Queues described below.

  1. RFQ- Readied Face Queue: Two uncompleted face with eyes attached only. One with rectangle eyes, the other with triangle eyes
  2. MQ- Mouth Queue: Two mouths, one rectangular, the other triangular
  3. FQ -Face Queue: One blank face
  4. EQ- Eye Queue(I love puns too!):Two sets of eyes, one rectangular, the other triangular

This time each team will wait until you call out a model to build. So for instance if you call for a mike, the person in front of the RFQ, pulls a triangular mouth from the MQ and deliver the product to the customer. This sends signals to replenish the RFQ and MQ. The result of replenishing these queues sends signals to FQ and EQ to be replenished. Have each team build one model and replenish Queues before beginning.

For about 4-5 minutes again, call out orders for models that customer have ordered. Mike, Aleem, Don, Mike, Jessica…………. Don’t call them out too fast since the inventory they are maintaining will not support multiple orders at once. Just watch the teams to get a sense of the pace they can handle. We sometimes ramp up the pace near the end to illustrate the point of keeping you inventory levels as low as possible but high enough to meet market demand as these need to be balanced.

At the end of 2 minutes all teams are typically ahead of the best result from the previous round and we will point this out when that milestone has passed. At the end of 4-5 minutes do the same accounting exercise as last time. Every team will have made money

Learning Points

  • The efficiency of Lean Pull processes
  • The economic problem with presuming to predict the market and not planning short releases.
  • Kanban – to introduce this, have the teams draw out the shapes that go into their queues. These are your Kanban signs.
  • The importance of cash flow and receiving a return on investment

Posted by Mike

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3 Responses to "Sr. Cara Feliz"
  • Michael McCullough %d 05UTC %B 05UTC %Y a las %H:%M 11Mon, 05 Oct 2009 11:32:33 +000033.

    Found the following blog post on using Mr. Happy Face today.

    “… we picked a game to illustrate Kanban in a fun and interactive way, Mr Happyface, and it worked so well! I would recommend this game to any trainer who wants to illustrate Kanban in a fun and interactive way!”

    Great to see people in the community using these games and getting value from the site.

    Michael McCullough

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  • Learning Through Play « Mastering the Obvious %d 19UTC %B 19UTC %Y a las %H:%M 05Mon, 19 Jul 2010 17:58:13 +000013.

    [...] of the typical 2 day Agile workshop are the games and exercises.  Games like the Penny Game, Mr. Happy Face, and the Multitasking Exercise help people take in new and challenging ideas  in a playful [...]

  • Lee Wiesehuegel %d 05UTC %B 05UTC %Y a las %H:%M 10Tue, 05 Jan 2016 10:39:48 +000048.

    I really like this game for starting off discussions on Kanban and operations teams (those that execute a process). I like to add a middle iteration though, to separate the benefit of push vs pull and the benefit of thinking about the flow of work. My version goes
    It 1: push to unknown market
    It 2: pull to market demands (JIT manufacturing)
    It 3: same as 2, but with definitive planning on the physical flow of work, incorporating the idea of the Kitchen Golden Triangle / Taylorism.
    Wrap up: How do you translate the physical flow to non-physical (eg IT)? This is where the Kanban board comes in, how do we make that work, how do we tweak it, etc

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