Timing: 15 minutes or so (flex), can be inserted into any meeting to liven things up


This is mostly a verbal game, no special supplies required except for small pieces of paper (can use postits) and writing implements.

If making a master list (see option) a marker and paper taped to wall or dry-erase board will be needed for display.


1. Players think about words that are so overused in the Agile lexicon that they have become meaningless or hard to define.  They write them down on the small pieces of paper and fold them in half and place them in a pile in the middle of the table. (2 mins)

2. Players self-organize into two teams. (1 min)  Teams take turns selecting a piece of paper and making sure everyone on that team only can see and understand the word.

4. On the team that selects first, someone volunteers to start providing a definition/description to the other team without using any form of the selected word.

5. If the volunteer accidentally says the word when trying to define/describe it, at that point another team member takes over.

6. Play proceeds until the other team guesses the word.

7. The two teams switch.

Option: make a master list of all the words submitted before the play begins. These are all forbidden to use in the descriptions, no matter what word is being described.

Learning Points:

More precise ability to articulate key agile concepts free of their associated jargon

Reality check on how closely aligned a team is in its understanding of key agile concepts

Fine-tuning of shared mental models of the knowledge work attempted and fulfilled

2 thoughts on “JargonBust

  1. I love this game! I can’t wait to play it with my teams and see the reaction. It’s so powerful to refrain from using a word and encouraging people to use other words to define it – or not use it. It definitely gets people thinking!

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