Agile Paper Planes Game

Agile Paper Planes Game is an alternative to the Scrum LEGO game. It helps players understand the agile approach, as well as improve team collaboration. Reasons, why you might consider this game instead of LEGO one, are various, for example:

  • You are trying to improve team collaboration not just Scrum knowledge
  • Your team already played LEGO game
  • You don’t have LEGO box available

All you need for this game is:

  • At least 4 people
  • Pile of A4 paper sheets
  • 1-hour timebox

Agile Paper Plane Game introduction

First of all, you need to create as many 2-4 people teams as possible. Teams don’t have to be equally sized (life is not fair). The goal for every team will be to build paper planes while consuming resources and provide profit for a company.

You should start the game with the introduction of rules.

  1. The plane is counted as finished (accepted/done) only when you throw it and it crosses a 5-meter mark before touchdown.
  2. Every team starts with $30 in their pockets.
  3. The maximum profit from one plane is $2 and a maximum loss per lack of plane is -$5. Your balance is changing:
    • +$3 per committed and finished plane
    • +$2 per finished plane above commitment limit
    • -$3 per committed and unfinished plane
    • -$1 per plane given for a failed test
    • -$1 per used piece of paper.
  4. Planes need to have a blunt front for security (believe me they will be flying all around).

Game process

The game will be held in 3 sprints. Each sprint will be combined from:

  • Planning (3 min) – each team will be provided with one A4 piece of paper for checking and figuring out a number of planes that they will commit to, in this sprint. Each team gets the number of papers to what they commit to deliver.
  • Sprinting (3 min) – actual building.
  • Review – all participants together gather to check their planes (you are making test flights). Ask users to mark their planes before the review, so you will make blind tests (you will not know whose planes you are throwing). The plane is accepted when it flies for more than 5 meters.
  • Retro (3 min) – teams use this time to find out what they should improve in the next sprint.
Agile Paper Planes Game board
During the Agile Paper Planes Game, you should update board with every group’s current account.

What players will learn from the Agile Paper Planes Game?

  1. Players will find out that it is way more valuable to build less well-working features than many “almost-done” things.
  2. Students will learn that it is a good approach to start with very little planes (one or two) and increase the amount when they know the process better.
  3. Starting with the low amount of planes is a real-life implementation of inspection and adaptation principles.
  4. Users might invent to ask you to test their planes during sprinting. I suggest not telling them about this before the first round. You can suggest it after the first round. This will be minimizing risk strategy.