This game is aimed to learn from failing.

Just imagine you are on the Daily Standup meeting. Each player brings his issues to the team and also trying to solve issues that are already open.

You will be surprised by patterns of collaborative work and the power of solving issues together with the team.

40-60 minutes.
If you use timeboxed iterations, this could run faster, otherwise game ends when there are no cards left.

Deck of playing cards (option, take the deck from 6 to A). Table for each group of 4-8 participants.

Nobody’s Perfct – instructor’s cheat sheet

Nobody”s Perfct – hands out

Nobody’s Perfct – Presentation


Draw the rule- and mindset on a flipchart paper (or spread the Handout, see attached)

Let the audience play in groups of 4 – 8 people per group

  • If you have more than 4 people, let them play in pairs or as singles.
  • If you have a larger audience, get a facilitator from each group (ScrumMaster?) who has to watch out that rules are followed and a discussion happens. If you apply timeboxing he’s to take care of it as well.

Every player gets a set of 4 cards.

  • Every card type represents an Issue/Failure (blacks) or a Solution (reds), which could be Technical (Cross & Diamonds) or Social (Clubs & Hearts). See the attached handout for details.

In his/her turn each player can

  1. Start with the heaviest problem. Play the card. Explain the problem.
  2. If you have a solution or a small step in the right direction: play the card, explain your approach.
  3. If you are not able to do anything more you’re done.
  4. Fill up to 4 cards from the stack. It’s the next players turn.

Play in iterations (10 Minutes / Iteration). That allows you to extend the rules stepwise.

  • Start with closed hands.
  • Extension: introduce the pile of wisdom.
  • Extension: play openly
  • Extension: if a group is missing something valuable for them, allow them to introduce another rule given by themselves

The pile of wisdom is a stack of best practices and “proved” solutions:

  • If you face a problem on the desk and you are not able to cover it with a card on your hand you are allowed to take a card from the pile of wisdom. Take the first card on top and try to solve a given problem with it.
  • Once a problem is solved put it to the pile of resolved problems and put the solutions to the pile of wisdom (on top if solved out of hand, on bottom if solved from pile of wisdom). Only the last solution is visible.
Learning Points:

This game makes people comfortable with bringing their failures to the team and solving them together. Make a good debriefing with learning from different aspects of the game (playing open, having a “pile of wisdom” and etc.)

Cards are used only as a medium – make sure people bring examples each time they play a card. Discussion is a most valuable part of the game.


Ellen Grove, Martin Heider, Holger Koschek, Timofey Yevgrashyn

… with a lot of help from Antti Kirjavainen, Nancy van Schooenderwoert and Björn Jensen

3 thoughts on “Nobody’s Perfct

  1. Hi, I am fascinated by this game! But still have some issues to fully understand it…

    – I can only bring up a solution, if a) i have the right card on my hand (or on the staple of wisdom) and b) if it is my turn?

    – how do I remember which solution is used by which card? Do I need to write them down?

    many thanks,

  2. We have also discussed with authors when to play this game.

    Among the ideas were:
    – In a retrospective (to encourage the team members to bring their problems to the open)
    – In a risk estimation workshop (to gather the possible risks of the project)
    – In a Community of Practice (to improve the openness)
    – in a workshop session to teach the group to be more open
    – everywhere, you think it could be useful 🙂

    The game is published under Creative Commons license – just mention authors and we will be happy 🙂

Comments are closed.