Ball Point Game

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Welcome to yet another Scrum Blog on the web. In this blog I want to talk about my experience with Scrum and other agile processes and techniques. In this first article I want to talk about the “Ball Point Game”…

On Monday and Tuesday this week I had my Certified Scrum Master training in munich. Our trainer was Simon Roberts who did a great job. During the training we played the “Ball Point Game” which was originally created by Boris Gloger. They also played the game at the Scrum Gathering in Munich last week.

To play the game you need at least 20 balls (we had 50), e.g. tennis balls and form a circle with your team. The objective of the game is that everyone of the team touches the ball at least once and to pass as many balls as possible. The rules of the game are:

  1. Each ball must have “air” time, so giving the ball from hand to hand is not allowed
  2. It is not allowed to pass the ball to the direct neighbour
  3. Every team member has to touch the ball at least once
  4. At the end of a round the ball has to get back to the one who brought it into the game
  5. The whole process is time boxed (2 minutes “sprint”, 1 minute review)

The game should start with a 2 minute discussion on how to start. After that 5 iterations are started (see 5.) and after the 5 iterations the results of the iterations should be discussed. As you can imagine our first round wasn’t really exciting. We were able to pass 3 balls before the first sprint ended 😉 In our first sprint review we decided to change the process and were able to pass 28 balls, then 42 and the last two sprints 53. To create some pressure Simon told us between the 4th and the 5th sprint that he had a team that were able to pass 85 balls which was a lie 😉 But the result was that we tried harder but couldn’t improve our velocity.

The ball point game gave us a great impression how velocity increases sprint after sprint in agile scrum teams. We also found out that we lost more balls if we tried to get faster to reach a higher velocity, which especially happend after Simon told us about the 85 balls 😉 I think I’ll use this game in my next project as Scrum Master.