Story cube time line

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Between 30 minutes and 45 minutes. Allow 5-10 minutes to debrief


Rory’s Story Cubes set


A game with “story cubes” and a lot of insight for teams.  Easy to adapt to your needs, and get the best value of “good” things. Allow people to talk openly and exchange points of view. The timeline could be 12-6-3 months or a project debrief.


Step 1: Define the time line…

Define the time line period. I personally did the full 2014 year. It was the first retro from 2015, so we did a review of 2014 to see all GOOD things we did. In any case, you can adapt it to  3-6 months time line, or “last” project review, or something.

Step 2: The cubes…

This step will depend a lot of the number of cubes you have and the number of people in your team. If you have the full set of story cubes (~$50.-CAD or ~$25 USD in amazon), it will be 27 cubes. In this exercise, team members took 3 or 4 cubes to represent something during 2014. One rule I did was: ‘Each person must be able to represent something every 3 or 4 months”. With that rule, I was sure that we will get events during the full year :)

Step 3: Individual story…

At this moment, people have their cubes, the rule (s), and the time line. One by one starts to put their cubes in the time line and explain “what” the cube represent. Here, be ready to see funny “cube pictures” and really good things, and some things to improve.

Note: Don’t look for precise dates if the time line is long. In our case, 12 months was long, so we were looking for the  “months” and forgot the day.

Step 4: The full story now…

Now, each team member gives very good stories around the timeline. It is time to put all together. Allow the time to discuss, add more explanation about each event or cube. It is here where team members exchange few points of view and decide what happened first and so on.  The team exchanges point of view of the same event, I personally enjoy those 10/15 minutes to put all together. At the end, few members tell the full story, everyone agree and that is all.

Step 5: Capture the result…

Step 6: Debriefing…

I am not able to do a game or exercise without spending 5 or 10 minutes to debrief the result. Here, I ask for “what did you like more?”, “Should I change something next time?”, and more question to give you the feedback and feelings from team members.

Learning Points

Positive spirit enforced. Insight and different point of view about the same subject/event. Team building. Team trust and commitment.

Link to Game: Story Cubes Time Line Retrospective – AgileCafe

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2 Responses to "Story cube time line"
  • Sarah February 2, 2015 at 3:08 pm

    Hello, this looks really great. Have you ever had an instance when people couldn’t think up a story with the story cubes? That worries me a bit.

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  • Julie June 25, 2015 at 11:15 am

    My variation of this:

    We had 8 people and two packs of the story cubes, (‘Once upon a time’ and ‘Voyages’) so split the group into two teams and each group got a story cube pack. Each group made their own timeline with the challenge to use all 9 cubes, then compared notes! The group enjoyed it and I got more engagement than usual! Thanks for the idea!

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