Inevitably Agile

somethings are just inevitable …

Agile Games – Scrum Gathering South Africa

Over the last 2 weeks I have been kept busy with the South African Scrum Gathering. I was co-presenting Agile Games (which is blogged about here) and a Product Owner team session, which I will write about shortly. There were 2 Agile Game sessions held – one in Johannesburg for 30 minute and one in Cape Town for 90 minutes. Due to the duration being so different Karen Greaves and I decided to do all different games at these sessions.


All the Jhb games were originally played with Alan Cyment.

  • Vampire
  • Singing, Numbers, Clapping
  • Columbian Hypnotist

Read more on how to play these games here:

This session was also video taped – – Enjoy!!

Cape Town

Singing, Numbers, Clapping

(originally played with Alan Cyment)

Read how to play this here:

Discussion points:

Non Musical Chairs


Form groups of 5 to 15, arrange chairs in circle facing outwards. Pick a “Chair Person”.


Goal is for the “Chair Person” to sit in the empty chair and for the rest to prevent this.

Rules: No touching the Chair Person. No moving the chairs. If you stand you must move chairs. Once Chair Person is sitting all raise hands and wait for other groups to finish.

Once all done, have a 1 minute retrospective (the Chair Persons must huddle in a corner and not watch). Repeat for 3 rounds.

Feedback: Everyone stands in a circle, shoulder to shoulder.

Discussion points:

Broken Skype
(Invented by Sam Laing and Karen Greaves – adapted from Broken Telephone)


Come up with 3 hand signs – 1 simple, 2 complex. Have people stand in rows all facing 1 direction, looking at each others backs – max 10 persons in a row.


There is no talking allowed. Facilitator taps on back persons back, they turn around. Show the sign ONCE. That person turns around and taps the person in front of hims back, repeat until you get to the front. Widen rows and have front people show the sign they got. Now show the actual sign.

Round 1 – use the simple sign (We used ASL for “technique”)

Round 2 – use the complex sign (We touched our ears, two fingers to nose, two fingers to palm)

Round 3 – have the rows form circles. Again you will show the person on your left the sign ONCE and so on. Everyone can see the sign but may not “act it” until it is their turn. They can correct at will based on what they have observed. At the end form a large circle and all do the sign together. (We used ASL for “copy cat” and then “empty glass”)

Feedback: Everyone stands in a circle, shoulder to shoulder.

Discussion points:

(originally played with Carlton Nettleton)


Find 2 origami things to make – keep them fairly simple. We used a frog and a box. Have loads of blank paper in correct starting shape, and print out enough instructions for half the audience.


Round 1: Get everyone to partner up and sit back to back. One person will fold, One will read instructions. The one building may not see the instructions, the one explaining may not see whats being built. Pick easier origami(frog) and hand out with paper to built it. 5 minutes, build as many as possible.

Round 2: Collect all papers. This time sit facing your partner. Now the one reading can see whats being folded.Hand out other origami and paper. 5 minutes, build as many as possible.

Round 3: Collect all papers. This time sit next to your partner. You can both see the instructions and the folded paper. Only one person may fold. Teams can pick which origami they want to build. 5 minutes, once the one is build – hand out the other one to build.

Feedback: Everyone stands in a circle, shoulder to shoulder.

Discussion points:

Water Game
(Invented by group of delegates and Sam Laing at Agile 2011)


A glass per person, a straw per person (bendy ones are great – but plain straight ones work as well), a jug of water per team of 5-7 people.


Form teams of 5 to 7. Aim is to fill as many glasses with water as possible in 2 minutes, using only the straws. You can suck water but not into your mouth – only to top of straw – don’t cheat!. Have all teams hold up glasses at end and pick winner. Pour water back into jug. 1 minute to inspect and adapt.

Repeat for 2 more rounds.

Variations – have glasses of various shapes available. Have various types of straws available. Hand out more straws or less. Hand out scissors.

Feedback: Everyone stands in a circle, shoulder to shoulder.

Discussion points:

Don’t Blow It


Many balloons, and blindfolds – we use kids party masks and blanked out the eyes. Split into groups of 3 to 5. Volunteer a person to fetch the blindfold and balloons.


Goal is to blow the biggest balloon (not the most!).

Rules: Only the blindfolded person can touch the balloon (and hence blow and tie it). Balloon must be tied to be considered “done”. Team says whether to blow or stop. Volunteer a blower for each round. Facilitators can randomly pop balloons to insert some fear and laughs and jumps! Each round is 1 minute.

Round 1: everyone stands close – shoulders touching.

Round 2: can stand anywhere.

Round 3: No talking, can only communicate with blower via touch.

Feedback: Everyone stands in a circle, shoulder to shoulder.

Discussion points:

Jumping Circle Close
(Invented by Sam Laing and Karen Greaves)

Read how to play this here

Feedback Door
(Idea from here, but adapted: )

As you can tell from the feedback – everyone seemed to have an AWESOME time – Karen and I included. Agile Games are not for everyone – some people prefer more serious discussions and formal learning sessions – but hopefully even those sceptics will see the value in these games oneday.

If you attended either session – please leave us feedback in a comment as we would love to improve – Thanks!


2 responses to “Agile Games – Scrum Gathering South Africa

  1. sam October 10, 2011 at 2:02 pm

    I have updated this post with the video link :


  2. Pingback: SGZA Presentations and videos | SUGSA

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