With the arrival of Covid, I was looking for a replacement for the Ball Point and the Airplane Building games I would run during my in-class sessions. This game uses the foundations of the Coin game and adds a twist with coins of different values and adding the scrum framework for actions. This mashup is a lot of fun and makes everyone talk and work together.

Time Required: 45~60 Minutes
Tools: Online ticket system. In my organization, we used Klaxoon. But it could easily be ported to MetroRetro.
Also, need a physical coin or use justflipacoin.com


SETUP: Execute three sprints to make the most money possible
Team size: 4-5 people
Tools: Klaxoon board, a coin

GOAL: With the Klaxoon board representing an entire team, see how much money your team can make by moving coins through our process to our wallet (aka Done)

ARCHITECTURAL CONSTRAINT: Each coin can be moved by one person from an idea card in Klaxoon

PROCESSING CONSTRAINT: Each team member may only move ONE coin at a time.  Each move of the coin requires you to move another coin before moving that coin again.  You MUST NOT move a coin two times in a row!!

TESTING CONSTRAINT: Only the Product Owner can move the coin from the final step to the wallet (AKA Done).

RULE: Each person can make one coin flip and move one coin if they get a heads

ACCEPTANCE CRITERIA: Each coin must land on a heads before moving the coin to the next step.  The PO is in charge of ROI and must accept all coins, ONLY the PO can move the coins to the wallet. 

DEFECT CONSTRAINT: If you receive a tails on a coin, you MUST not move a coin. 

WIP CONSTRAINT: Work in progress (partially moved coins AND put in the Wallet) must be put back in the PIGGY BANK at the end of each Sprint.


The board is setup into two major ares:
Area 1Piggy Bank: Before the session, I create a large number of “coins” using cards with images on them. The coins have the following values (I am in Europe, so we use Euro coins): 2 EUROS, 1 EURO, 50 Cents, 10 Cents and 1 Cents
The piggy bank is bottomless and will always have more coins.

Area 2 – Scrum Play Area: This consists of the usual setup to move to coins from left to right in a scrum fashion using the rules above.

Scrum Play area for coin game

Due to the value of the coins, each one has a different number of steps:
2 EURO requires 4 total heads to arrive in your wallet
1 EURO requires 3 total heads to arrive in your wallet
50 cents requires 2 total heads to arrive your wallet
10 & 1 cent pieces require a single heads to arrive in your wallet

Scrum kanban board in action


As you can see in the rules above, there are classic roles:
Product Owner: Must prepare the sprint backlog and also must “accept” the coins to put them in the Wallet
Scrum Master: Must enforce the process and the time box. This will include ensuring the documentation and counting is done, and improvements are documented.
Team: They do the coin flipping and work together to deliver the work.

Time Boxes

As this is scrum we create a time box for the team to execute as seen below:

Timebox for sprints

Statistics are gathered every sprint by the team for the value delivered. the product owner will be very busy trying to count and will usually need help. Make sure your scrum master enforces the time box!!

Let’s play!!

Let the team get started and work on their backlogs. Sprint 1 is always chaos and you can quickly see the teams who are communicating and working together.

After sprint 1, the team will need to start their reviews and retros. This will result in the Sprint results being tabulated and the improvements documented.

Moving sprint to sprint is a timeboxed affair as well.
Sprint end, moving into the next sprint

Wrap up and lessons learned

Continue on with this pattern until the end of sprint 3. Finalize with a discussion on the roles, the difficulties and what they learned.
Collect Answers for Your Team
1.What improvements did your team make over three sprints ?
2.What would have happened if there was no time box ?
3.How would waterfall be different from this ?
4.Who made the final design decisions in the team ?
5.What waste did you remove from the system ?

System Thinking lessons to learn

You might also want to discuss the variability in the system. The coin flip brings in a large amount of variability that is invisible. This can lead into a larger discussion on system thinking and how the system design impacts the flow of work.
Lesson to learn: Processes with only a single variable can have large gaps from the expected range. You cannot assume that a variance will come back to the norm in a system when there are no controls.
That is to say, some teams will do better just because of the variation in the process, not because they are better at playing the game. See two sample sets of 1000 coin flips.

This team could be rated poorly, but it is the system that causes them to have lower than average performance.
This is an above average team and they are able to constantly improve. It is based on the variance of the process, not their skill!

Multiple teams

The nice thing with this setup is that you can have multiple teams working a the same time. We use MS Teams and create breakout rooms for each team. Make sure the PO and SM roles are allocated before the breakout. I have run this with four teams in parallel and will pop in and out of the virtual rooms to see the dynamics

Multiple teams in parallel in Klaxoon

When you have multiple teams, you can bring up the discussion of communities, knowledge sharing and how to manage dependencies between teams.

Have fun. Let me know how it goes and share ideas to make it even better!

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