The Coffee Game

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Overview: This game lets players experience the burden of being a Product Owner, backlog management and having to choose between stakeholders. Players will form a team responsible for everything related to coffee and will try to create as much business value as possible for their organisation while keeping stakeholders happy.

Timing:  60 minutes

Materials needed:

  • enough room to form teams with their own space
  • per team (pref 5 or 6 people per team) the game materials (team description, role description, userstory cards, scorecard and 1 dice)
  • some candy to be used as reward/bonus  for example bag of mixed chocolate minis. It’s more fun and perhaps provides some nice insights if some of the rewards can be shared (like M&M’s and Rolo’s) and some can’t be shared easily (Mars,Nuts).
  • visible timing device


Facilitators guide is in the game materials provided. The facilitator explains the games, runs 3 rounds of backlog refinement and sprinting as well as keeping and comparing scores between teams 🙂 . Between every sprint the teams can do a retrospective to improve and the facilitator can use this to teach concepts touched by this game.

Learning Points:

  • Basics of backlog prioritizing
  • It’s smart to have some sort of business value model as guide to base your backlog ordening on
  • Refinement doesnt need to be perfect right away and isn’t a one time thing. Timebox, start and keep refining as you go
  • How do you keep stakeholders happy while adding as much business value as possible

Materials download:

English version v1.1 (20161208)

Dutch version v1.1 (20161104)

  • simplified some of the stories and their dependecies
  • enhanced layout of the storycards, improved font & color for story ID and extra remarks on card
  • seperated handout/facilitators guide/presenter slides

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8 Responses to "The Coffee Game"
  • Danette November 28, 2016 at 1:50 am

    This sounds like a really great game. As soon as this is available in English, I will definetely give this a go with my teams. I might even attempt the translation myself 😉

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  • DUO Agilityteam December 8, 2016 at 2:32 am

    Hello Danette, we have translated the game to English. It’s now up for download in the game description.

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  • Norbert December 29, 2016 at 6:41 am

    Thank You. I have tested the game at the local college and my students loved it 🙂

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  • Adrian Kerry August 3, 2017 at 3:56 am

    @DUO Agilityteam, I can’t access the instructions any more, could you re-upload them?

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  • DUO Agilityteam August 3, 2017 at 4:42 am

    Adrian, we checked both download links (dutch & english) and they seem to work ok? (both get you to download a zip file from dropbox with several files in there)

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  • Adrian Kerry August 14, 2017 at 1:49 am

    @DUO Agilityteam, seems to be working for me now as well, maybe it was a blip with Dropbox 🙂

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  • Sudheer October 2, 2018 at 8:23 am

    I have a quick question around the backlog grooming step.

    Are the teams expected to look at story samples ( round 1) and break down the stories into new ones?
    Please could you guide with examples step on how to run the grooming part?

    Also , not sure of the title Project A and project B . Is that supposed to be Project Mgr A and project Mgr B?

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  • DUO Agilityteam October 8, 2018 at 3:04 am

    Hello Sudheer,
    About the backlog refinement: The teams get their user stories for the first round (there are additional user stories for round 2 and 3, which you’ll hand out in round 2 and 3).
    The teams don’t break down the user stories, they have a look at them and prioritize them.

    So with example steps:
    1. you hand out the user stories to the team
    2. the team discusses and decides which story has the highest priority, which one is second, etc.

    Project A is the same as Project Mgr A, Project B is the same as Project Mgr B, you’re totally right.

    Feel free to ask if you have any question.

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