Traditional vs. Agile Approach of Managing Work

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I have developed this game with the help of John Moura sometime back in mid-2013. Since then I am actively using it in almost all of my training sessions. This game simulates both waterfall and agile environments. After the activity, in the debriefing section, practitioners able to recognize the differences between waterfall/ silo team structure vs. Agile/Collaborative team environment.


– Crayons
– Scissors (2 to 3 per team)
– Coloring pages: use any, but I prefer to use Easter egg sheets ( print an average of 30 sheets per team)

Time Required:
30 minutes for the activity and 15-20 minutes for debriefing

Divided the group into multiple small teams (sub-group). Ideally, each team size should be between 3-5 members. Each team will have a minimum of three roles. i.e. cutter, painter, and a tester/QA. If you have a large group, increase the painters (persons responsible for coloring).

Rules of the Game
1. Each egg must have at least two different colors
2. Two separate people must complete each coloring activity
3. Each egg should be minimum 90% filled with color
4. White space doesn’t count as a color
5. Cutting must be around oval edges of the egg
6. Eggs with major distractions in cutting will be disqualified

How to Win
The team that produces the greatest number of colorful eggs will win (with minimum waste).

The game will be played with two approaches; the first approach is a traditional waterfall and the second method is using iterative/incremental

Method 1: Plan driven approach with traditional/silo team structure


Facilitator assigns the roles to each team member. (e.g. cutter, painters, tester)
Each team member will work in his/her silo which means only the cutter is allowed to cut the paper, painter allowed to color and tester will perform inspection and verify the acceptance criteria
Facilitator accepts or rejects the work based on the rules defined above

Total time allowed is 12 minutes: 3 minutes planning, 6 minutes of cutting/coloring activities, and 3 minutes for lessons learned.
The team is to provide estimates after 3 minutes of planning on a number of eggs they will try to finish within 6 minutes.

Method 2: Multiple iterations with a cross-functional team structure


In this method, a team is self-organized, no silos. Any team member can work on any task e.g. cutter is allowed to do coloring and painter is allowed to cut the egg. This section of the game is divided into three iterations

Each iteration will be 4 minutes long: 1-minute planning, 2 minutes of cutting/coloring activities, and 1 minute to do review/retrospective.
Team to provide an estimate after each planning session for the Sprint

What did you notice? Observations? You can discuss the following area:

  • Team structure
  • Waste
  • Push vs. Pull system
  • Lesson Learned vs. Retrospectives
This game originally published at 360PMO

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11 Responses to "Traditional vs. Agile Approach of Managing Work"
  • Ben Maynard June 24, 2016 at 2:02 am

    Hi Aleem

    Played this game yesterday and it went down very well. I had to teams and in addition to recording estimated vs. actual I also recorded waste/inventory (eggs partially complete at the end of each delivery iteration).

    Question for you when working in an agile way, at the end of each iteration, do you have teams discard partially completed eggs or allow them complete them in the next iteration?

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  • Aleem Khan June 24, 2016 at 12:13 pm

    Glad to know that your game went well.

    I discard partially completed eggs after every iteration. But you brought up a good point, and it can be discussed during the debriefing section of the game i.e. partially completed work won’t count toward the velocity (stories are either done or not done). And continuing to work on unfinished work is up to the PO’s discretion.

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  • Vanitha October 17, 2016 at 5:05 am


    For the first method, whether the entire team plays the game together for 3 min,6 min,3 min or the team splits into sub teams at the beginning of the game and group doesn’t change for both the methods.

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  • Aleem Khan October 17, 2016 at 4:41 pm

    Hi Vanitha – the team structure remains the same for both approaches.

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  • Alper May 27, 2017 at 5:25 am

    Thanks for sharing, I am planning to use this game in my trainings.
    I have a recommendation. Between iterations, you can change the requirements, say you now want three colour eggs (they can be optional too) that will be more of a value – maybe will be counted as x2 when they finish. That is going to demonstrate the importance of shorter iterations and customer feedback.

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  • Aleem Khan May 27, 2017 at 7:00 am

    It’s an excellent idea to introduce shorter feedback cycle, my only caveat I would say, do not introduce many concepts at once. Adding more iterations and introducing new concepts won’t be a bad idea. Let me know how did it go.

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  • Ti Mougne September 5, 2017 at 11:41 am

    I ran this activity with one team of 5. They are new to Scrum, and at this point are operating in a traditional silo team structure. The game was great! We only recorded estimates vs. actuals, and we allowed unfinished work to carry over, but we reduced the actual delivered count by the waste (and those that were incomplete were considered waste). One thing I’d do differently next time is to allow the team to estimate (upfront) the total count to deliver at the end of the 3 sprints (representing the release plan), but then allow them to adjust their sprint estimates each time via learnings. I’d also add the SM role to the game to help facilitate the learnings of the team each sprint.

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  • Ravi September 7, 2017 at 1:32 pm

    Thanks for sharing this game.

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  • david trailman February 5, 2018 at 1:54 pm

    Hey Aleem, what does “Two separate people must complete each coloring activity” mean?
    Does this mean that 2 people have to colour the same egg at once?

    Thanks in advance for clarifying!

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  • Aleem Khan March 7, 2018 at 4:38 am

    Hi David, per rules there is no such restriction, If two team members want to do coloring “at once,” it is allowed.

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  • Ylva May 10, 2018 at 10:01 pm

    For my understanding – every team will play/experience both methods.
    First method 1 (plandriven) and then method 2 (iterative) therefore 30 min for the game?

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