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    Weekend Escape an agile backlog management game

    May 26th, 2015


    20 minutes to prepare plus 30 minutes for Standard version, or 75 to 90 minutes for Extended Version


    Small teams collaborate to order a backlog with a specific business goal in mind. Once the team has produced their backlog, they review the output of another team and discuss the differences. Everyone participates and discussion plays a key part in the game. Participant’s eyes are often opened to the complexity of backlog prioritisation. The game has been designed for all staff, not just Product Owners. The Extended Version of the game ramps up the challenge. It is aimed at Product Owners, yet suitable for anyone with a little more time to spare

    Learning Points:

    • Experience the challenges of prioritising and ordering a backlog.
    • Understand how an agile team can help their Product Owner by making the backlog items easier to compare.
    • The Extended Version also adds the experience of how business goals impact your approach to prioritisation.
    Example of resulting backlog:

    Link to Game: Instructions (PDF)

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    Rating: 5.0/5 (4 votes cast)


    Scrum Roles and Responsibilities Game

    January 12th, 2014

    A completed run of the game


    Timing: 15 minutes to run, 30 minutes to prepare (once only).


    • 32 Index Cards of one colour (I choose blue).
    • 7 Index Cards of another colour (I choose pink).
    • A permanent marker pen (i.e. sharpie).
    • Two flip chart pieces of paper (A0 size) or large pieces of butcher’s paper.
    • A very large desk or two desks large enough to hold the two pieces of paper.



    This game quickly builds understanding of the subtleties of the Scrum roles and responsibilities. Once you have prepared the cards (in the preparation instructions) you can easily repeat this game at a very low set up cost.



    Split each piece of paper into three equal sized sections and label each section: Team, Scrum Master, Product Owner. You will be able to keep and reuse these pieces of paper for numerous instances of the game.


    Write out the two sets of index cards

    Blue cards (Primary Responsibility)

    • Ensure Quality
    • Attend Sprint Planning
    • Attend Sprint Planning
    • Attend Sprint Planning
    • Attend Sprint Review
    • Attend Sprint Review
    • Attend Sprint Review
    • Attend Daily Standup
    • Attend Daily Standup
    • Attend Sprint Retrospective
    • Attend Sprint Retrospective
    • Attend Backlog Grooming
    • Attend Backlog Grooming
    • Attend Backlog Grooming
    • Design
    • Build
    • Test
    • Integrate software
    • Deploy
    • Improve process
    • Improve technical practices
    • Prioritise Product backlog
    • Talk to stakeholders
    • Track progress of the sprint
    • Make Product Backlog visible to all
    • Create Product backlog items
    • Resolve Technical impediments
    • Resolve organisational impediments
    • Facilitate Scrum events
    • Ensure Scrum rules are followed
    • Coach team
    • Track progress of the release



    Pink cards (Secondary Responsibility)

    • Attend Sprint Retrospective
    • Ensure Quality
    • Ensure Quality
    • Attend daily standup
    • Create product backlog items
    • Improve process
    • Improve technical practices



    How to run the game

    For six to twelve people

    Split group into two teams of three to six people each.

    Hand each group a set of index cards, asking them to shuffle them and evenly spread them out among the group.

    Place one prepared sheet of paper in front of each team.

    Ask them to take 2 minutes in silence to place their index cards against the role that is responsible for the items listed on each index card. Explain that there are some duplicated items. Some the duplicated items have Primary(blue) cards and Secondary(pink) cards. Meaning that some the roles carry more/or less responsibility for that item.

    After placing the index cards the teams now have 5 minutes to gain consensus as a team about the placement of the cards. They should discuss items that they disagree with within their team.

    After the teams are comfortable with their placement (you will be able to tell as the conversation will die off) ask them to swap tables and review the other teams work. When they find any placements that they disagree with they should calmly discuss this with the other team.


    Learning Points:

    Often the teams will come to appropriate conclusions through the discussions that they hold as they find cards that they disagree with. However as facilitator you should watch out for situations where they jump to incorrect conclusion or where they miss out on misplaced cards.

    One of the regular points that come up during this game is that the Scrum Master does not solve all of the team’s problems / fix their process. The team needs to step up and do this, however the Scrum Master is responsible for making it happen.

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    Rating: 4.8/5 (16 votes cast)


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