Overview: This game lets players experience the burden of being a Product Owner, backlog management and having to choose between stakeholders. Players will form a team responsible for everything related to coffee and will try to create as much business value as possible for their organisation while keeping stakeholders happy.

Timing:  60 minutes

Materials needed:

  • enough room to form teams with their own space
  • per team (pref 5 or 6 people per team) the game materials (team description, role description, userstory cards, scorecard and 1 dice)
  • some candy to be used as reward/bonus  for example bag of mixed chocolate minis. It’s more fun and perhaps provides some nice insights if some of the rewards can be shared (like M&M’s and Rolo’s) and some can’t be shared easily (Mars,Nuts).
  • visible timing device


Facilitators guide is in the game materials provided. The facilitator explains the games, runs 3 rounds of backlog refinement and sprinting as well as keeping and comparing scores between teams 🙂 . Between every sprint the teams can do a retrospective to improve and the facilitator can use this to teach concepts touched by this game.

Learning Points:

  • Basics of backlog prioritizing
  • It’s smart to have some sort of business value model as guide to base your backlog ordening on
  • Refinement doesnt need to be perfect right away and isn’t a one time thing. Timebox, start and keep refining as you go
  • How do you keep stakeholders happy while adding as much business value as possible

Materials download:

English version v1.1 (20161208)

Dutch version v1.1 (20161104)

  • simplified some of the stories and their dependecies
  • enhanced layout of the storycards, improved font & color for story ID and extra remarks on card
  • seperated handout/facilitators guide/presenter slides

8 thoughts on “The Coffee Game

  1. Hello Sudheer,
    About the backlog refinement: The teams get their user stories for the first round (there are additional user stories for round 2 and 3, which you’ll hand out in round 2 and 3).
    The teams don’t break down the user stories, they have a look at them and prioritize them.

    So with example steps:
    1. you hand out the user stories to the team
    2. the team discusses and decides which story has the highest priority, which one is second, etc.

    Project A is the same as Project Mgr A, Project B is the same as Project Mgr B, you’re totally right.

    Feel free to ask if you have any question.

  2. I have a quick question around the backlog grooming step.

    Are the teams expected to look at story samples ( round 1) and break down the stories into new ones?
    Please could you guide with examples step on how to run the grooming part?

    Also , not sure of the title Project A and project B . Is that supposed to be Project Mgr A and project Mgr B?

  3. Adrian, we checked both download links (dutch & english) and they seem to work ok? (both get you to download a zip file from dropbox with several files in there)

  4. Hello Danette, we have translated the game to English. It’s now up for download in the game description.

  5. This sounds like a really great game. As soon as this is available in English, I will definetely give this a go with my teams. I might even attempt the translation myself 😉

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