Paper Plane Game

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To demonstrate the power of time-box or Sprint that makes the heartbeat of an agile framework like Scrum.

Type:  Team Game

How many can you build in three minutes?

Time Needed: 45 minutes

Number of people per team: 6

Supplies Needed:

  1. Used Printer Paper 50 per team
  2. One flip chart and a marker to keep score

The goal of the game:

The goal of the game is for each team to create as much high quality tested planes that can fly a distance of at least 30 meters . The world record holder last checked in June 2016 was somewhere in Germany

Each iteration last 9 minutes.

IMG_0974 (1)
One fold at a time
  1. 3 minutes for planning,
  2. 3 minutes of actual build ( test included) time,
  3. 3 minutes for review/retrospective – 

Rules for playing the game:

  1. Build as many paper planes as you can in a 3-minute time box.
  2. One player can only do one fold at a time. That rules stays true for all three time-boxes.
  3. The planes should be built Rules and tested in the 3-minute increment
  4. Only planes that cross 30 meters will be counted
  5. Each team should give a count of how many planes they are going to build before the time-box starts.
  6. Subtract the final count of planes that actually flew from the planes that were built but were not tested or completed.  Eg: Team A said they will make 4 planes, 7 planes flew all the way but 5 were WIP ( work in progress). Subtract WIP so the actual is 7-5 =2
  7. The team has to come up with one idea of improvement at the retrospective. Have one member in the team be the counter.
  8. The front of the plane should be blunt to avoid injury to the team members.
  9. You cannot crush the plane into a ball and throw.

Please recycle the paper once done

Debrief: ( pick any two )

  • Each table talks about what made them improve over the three iterations
  • Talk about what would have happened if the time box was not there
  • Talk about how waterfall may be different from this.
  • Talk about who made the final design decisions in the team.
  • Talk about any wastes they removed from the system that helped them get better.


Original Creator: Not me. I am still trying to find out. I learned it from another trainer.

There are many variations of this game. This is one way I  use it in my workshops

Common or severe Agile mistakes

Mike Cohn from mailed a nice list of common agile mistakes:

Being way too ambitious in how much work was selected for the next iteration. A few people reported doing this even in the absence of management pressure to do so.

Trying to facilitate a meeting using someone else’s style. We each have our own style. Use that. Teams recognize when we’re pretending we’re someone else and facilitating with their style.

Holding meetings or other events at the wrong times. A few people reported doing sprint reviews a few days early, but then not having everything ready to demonstrate.

Telling people what to do. This seemed like a common problem, especially for any of us who worked as traditional project managers before adopting an agile approach. Other Scrum Masters reported the opposite problem, saying they remained too silent during team discussions.

Letting a story into the sprint without enough clarity about what was needed. A few people emailed that this happened because a product owner pushed for the story to be included. Others, though, said it was the team that wanted to bring the story in despite a lack of clarity.

Trying to fill every hour with planned work during sprint planning. Some teams fear an unallocated hour. When sprint planning seems done but a few people have extra hours, they planned work into those hours and then learned they’d overloaded the sprint.

Not asking enough questions. A couple of Scrum Masters said they didn’t ask enough questions. I’m pretty good at that by now, but early on, I would literally track the number of questions I asked versus the number of statements I made in each meeting to try to improve.

Forgoing the usual meetings because the team size was small. A few people replied to say they took the already-lightweight Scrum framework and lightened it further by leaving out some meetings because their teams were 2-3 people. They learned this was a mistake and that even small teams benefit from every Scrum event.

Not pushing teams a little harder at improvements they’d decided to make. In their retrospectives, some teams chose to improve at things like demonstrating to users more often or improving collaboration between coders and testers. And a few of you said you didn’t push your teams hard enough to make the improvements they’d chosen themselves.

Allowing too much discussion into the daily scrum. A few Scrum Masters and coaches emailed to say they changed the format of the daily scrum away from the standard three questions, and that didn’t work as well. Other said they let teams discuss problems too long and daily scrums started to take much longer. Another had let the daily scrum turn into a design meeting.

Not letting go of a mistake. A number of people said that they tend to replay mistakes in their heads or let mistakes gnaw at them. Once the mistake has been made, learn from it. Then let it go.

Revitalize your retrospectives with these fresh techniques

When your “tried and true” retrospective format inevitably goes stale, you need a go-to bag of tricks to freshen things up and keep your team engaged. With the help of teammates past and present, Sarah Goff-Dupont rounded up several fun variations to mix in.

  • Significant events
  • Start, stop, continue
  • Like, loathed, lacked, learned
  • Speak like a human
  • 5 whys
  • Dot voting
  • Testify
  • Silly hats
  • Acknowledgments

Read the complete article here:

Fight Zombie Product Ownership with the Product Ownership Evolution Model

Through our studies, we have found that a lack of true product ownership is one of the main causes of Zombie Scrum. This is puzzling as the Product Owner role as such is clearly described in the Scrum framework. However, you would be hard-pressed to find a company that comes even close to living the role the way it was originally intended. Not because these companies successfully set up the Product Owner role as required by the Scrum Guide and then found out that strong product ownership doesn’t help them solve their problems. For numerous, often very understandable reasons they go a quarter of the way and settle on fitting the Product Owner role into their existing organizational structure.

Read the complete article here:

My Reading Backlog

I saw some people sharing their reading backlog and thought it was a fun idea to write mine down as well. Looking back at 2018 I was quite surprised how much books I managed to read.

If you know some books I should add to my backlog, please let me know!

A small note: I have not prioritized my todo-list, whenever I finish a book I pick something from it I feel like reading at that moment and start.

Continue reading “My Reading Backlog”

Bye Bye Velocity. Hello Throughput.

As published by Louis-Philippe Carignan on

The Professional Scrum with Kanban (PSK) course has now been out for more than 6 months at As one of the first few trainers who wanted to teach this course when it came out, I find that it is a great way to combine the Scrum framework with Kanban as a strategy to deliver value to your customer.

Out of the many topics that we talk about in this class, I’ve found that the use of throughput instead of velocity/capacity to be a positive change. I’ve taught the regular Professional Scrum Master (PSM) course for about 6 years now and when I get to the Sprint Planning slides, we usually extend the conversation around velocity and capacity. I pull up my complementary slide deck around relative estimation, poker planning, charts to track velocity and we spend an additional hour on this topic. I answer questions around the meaning of story points, how they should be understood, tracked and used in multi-team Agile project.

In the PSK class, this conversation is completely different. When I get to the Sprint Planning slides, I point out that the throughput history is used as an input to the Sprint Planning. With a few examples, I show how easy it can be to get from your electronic Agile tracking system (Ex: Jira) or on your physical Kanban board.

I then get a new set of questions from students which I find a lot more interesting. The conversation goes quickly around the variation in the size of the Product Backlog Items (PBIs) that are taken by the team at Sprint Planning. I can also tie it back to Little’s Law where limiting work in progress will increase throughput, thus helping students see throughput linked to limiting work in progress. There are very few questions around understanding throughput. Students find it is a metric that makes sense to the business compared to story points.

While our industry has talked about poker planning and story points since almost the beginning of agility in 2001, I think it is more than time that the conversation at Sprint Planning shifts to historical throughput instead of using velocity. Maybe one day in the software engineering museum, we can see a deck of poker planning cards next to a set of punch cards.

Differences Between Scrum &Kanban

As posted by Al Shalloway on LinkedIn

Looking at differences between Scrum & Kanban can help us see which will work better for us.

  1. Scrum requires planning the sprint. You can plan in Kanban but it’s normally isn’t done.
  2. Scrum requires cross-functional teams. Kanban doesn’t. While making it more flexible if also may miss the opportunity for team structure improvement.
  3. Scrum requires starting with its roles, practices, events & artifacts. Kanban allows you to start where you are & provides a transition model for improvement.
  4. Scrum improves by removing impediments. Kanban improves by focusing on shortening cycle time.

Teams that don’t like to be told what to do may resist Scrum. Kanban requires more discipline from the team than Scrum.

Factors to consider when deciding which to use:

  • culture– including resistance to being told what to do &attachment to roles
  • nature of work being done
  • ability to create cross-functional teams

Note that executives can better relate to Kanban’s focus on flow. Combined with its insistence on visibility, executives can better understand the importance of managing workload.

In few cases is one clearly superior to the other. Taking a blend of the two often makes sense. Doing this is not difficult.

How to Implement Hypothesis-Driven Development

Practicing Hypothesis-Driven Development is thinking about the development of new ideas, products and services – even organizational change – as a series of experiments to determine whether an expected outcome will be achieved. The process is iterated upon until a desirable outcome is obtained or the idea is determined to be not viable.

Read the complete article here: