What is Scrum Card Game?

SCRUM CARD GAME is a simple game, which lets players experience work in Scrum sprints and brings to discussion many questions and topics that happen in real life while working in a Scrum team. This experience facilitates learning and makes participants prepared to the real use of Scrum.

This game is usually played during the Scrum training or a workshop. Participants should know about Scrum framework, or could be introduced to it right before the game.

I built this game as I felt other simulations (for example, Lego Scrum or other kinds) lack the focus on the Scrum process and often derail participants with too much play instead of learning. Also, I like the lightweight and easy to carry on materials and this game is just a set of cards that you can bring in your pocket to any workshop or training you have.

The Setup

Split the audience into teams of 4-5 (max 6) people, equally if possible and have one set per team.

For each team you need:

  1. Download a detailed manual with printable cards included and the best is to laminate them for re-use (for language other than English, see the bottom of the page)
  2. Get two regular playing dice (1..6) for each team
  3. Stickers and a pen for each team to organize a taskboard and write remaining work on stickers and not on cards directly.

Also, a Flipchart and markers for the facilitator needed to visualize results.

Set the Goal: You are competitive development center(s) aimed to deliver a new application to the market.

Each team has an equal set, but due to decisions they make the game can go differently in each case. This creates an infinite source for discussions during the debriefing.

Game flow

A more detailed description of the game facilitation is available in the downloadable manual (see the page bottom for other languages) with the printable cards design included.

In short, a team experience three Scrum Sprints with a normal cycle: Plan, Do, Reflect.

Plan: Team plans a three-day Sprint by selecting Stories from a Backlog cards which you provide them. The Planning process is done when a team announces their plans with numbers of Stories selected and a total amount of planned work and you record this to the flipchart, so everyone can see their «commitment».

Do: Team «works» within an iteration. Each member simulates work during a day (no spoilers: see manual for details and browse down for more languages) and when each member played, a day has gone. After three rounds the Sprint is over.

Reflect: Team sees their results delivered, where only Done items count. You write the actual results delivered on the flip chart next to the original plan. They learn from experience and plan a next Sprint better (I hope).

Teams are not expected to accomplish the whole Backlog, but sometimes they can do so. I usually say that the last Sprint is the one before going to production and a team should better plan what they can really deliver by the end of Sprint and the rest of Stories simply ignored.

Debriefing

When all three Sprints passed, the facilitator brings the flipchart with all the data about plans and actual results to the middle of the room.

There are many topics to discuss. First, start by analyzing numbers of Planned VS Actual and how it changed from Sprint to Sprint. What decisions a team made and how it reflected in their results. What risks happened during a Sprint and how it affects their plans. And anything you observed during the play or feel needs to be discussed with this audience.

Give it a Try!

Download a copy of the detailed manual with printable cards included.

I’ve released this game under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. You are free to use it at a workshop in your company or in your course you are teaching, even if you are charging money for it. I’d love to hear from you any feedback about how you use the game or ideas how to extend or alter the game. Please don’t hesitate to contact me.
Creative Commons License

Translations

At the moment, the game is available in multiple languages.

Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you want to translate the Scrum Card Game to another language.