Agile software development embraces iterations, adaptation, and people over processes. While efficient execution is crucial, culture and engagement also play a key role. Agile teams that collaborate effectively tend to outperform the competition.
But building connection, trust, and alignment takes work. This is where agile games come in handy.
These games create opportunities for learning, feedback, and fun in quick bursts. They could be icebreakers at standups, or complex simulations to solve pressing problems. Playing together unlocks creativity, improves psychological safety, and energizes teams.
So we’ve brought you 25 agile games that offer practical, enjoyable ways to strengthen team dynamics and drive agile proficiency.
Get ready to energize your team meetings and planning sessions!
- What Are Agile Games?
- Benefits of Agile Games for Team Building
- Optimal Situations for Implementing Agile Games
- 25 Agile Games to Improve Teamwork and Collaboration
- 1. Kanban Pizza Game
- 2. Agile Clock
- 3. Impact & Effort Matrix
- 4. Estimation Game
- 5. Design Sprints
- 6. Four-Step Sketch
- 7. Stop Start Continue
- 8. Agile Jeopardy
- 9. Product Box
- 10. Speed Boat
- 11. Spiderweb
- 12. Agile Ball Point Game
- 13. Dot Voting
- 14. The Marshmallow Challenge
- 15. Lean Coffee
- 16. The Iteration Game
- 17. Scrum Simulation with LEGO
- 18. The Name Game
- 19. Crazy Eights
- 20. User Story Mapping
- 21. The Penny Game
- 22. Agile Bingo
- 23. The Non-Musical Chairs
- 24. Tower Building
- 25. Empathy Mapping
- Make Learning and Improvement Fun with Agile Games
What Are Agile Games?
Agile games are short, playful team activities used in agile software development to energize collaboration, surface insights, and drive improvements.
Agile games encourage experimentation, feedback, and adaptation in a psychologically safe environment. They help agile teams and project managers to enhance team performance and foster team building.
Unlike usual team-building activities, agile games focus on the nuances and challenges of working in an agile environment. They help your team understand and apply key agile concepts such as iterative development, continuous feedback, and adaptive release planning.
Benefits of Agile Games for Team Building
Playing agile games encourages discussion, active listening, and working together towards shared goals. Games can, thus, help build stronger agile software development teams through the following:
- Enhanced communication: Agile games break down barriers, encouraging open dialogue and clearer communication among team members. They let your team express ideas and feedback in a psychologically safe setting, leading to improved understanding and collaboration
- Higher morale and engagement: Agile games uplift team spirit by introducing an element of fun and competition, leading to a team that eager to contribute and participate
- Improved problem-solving skills: These games present scenarios that require quick thinking and adaptability. So teams learn to think creatively and develop practical solutions together, enhancing their problem-solving capabilities
- Strengthened team bonding: Agile games create shared experiences that help forge stronger bonds between team members. These shared experiences are crucial for building trust and understanding within the team
- Reinforced agile principles: Through games, team members internalize key agile concepts such as iterative development, flexibility, and continuous improvement. This reinforcement helps in embedding agile practices into the team’s daily routine
- Enhanced learning experience: Agile games provide a practical and enjoyable hands-on learning experience. This approach helps team members retain agile concepts more effectively than traditional teaching methods
Can’t wait to start implementing agile games? Hold on just a while and check out this list of the most suitable situations to incorporate agile games.
Optimal Situations for Implementing Agile Games
Agile team-building games fit various situations within the agile software development cycle, such as:
- During sprint planning: Agile games are a great way to kick off a sprint planning session. They help warm up the team, fostering creativity and encouraging a collaborative mindset essential for effective sprint planning
- In retrospectives: Post-sprint retrospectives greatly benefit from agile games. They offer a relaxed environment for teams to discuss what worked, what didn’t, and how they can improve processes
- In team building sessions: Team building sessions are perfect opportunities to conduct agile games. These sessions aim to strengthen the team bond. Games provide a fun way to do that
- In problem-solving meetings: When your team faces a challenge, agile games can help with creative problem-solving and encourage out-of-the-box thinking
- While onboarding new team members: Agile games can help newly onboarded team members feel included and understand team dynamics in a stress-free way
- For breaking monotony and routine: Agile teams sometimes get caught up in their day-to-day tasks. These games can be a refreshing change of pace, re-energizing the team
- Before major project milestones: Conducting agile games before major milestones can help align the team’s focus, rejuvenate their minds, and ensure everyone is on the same page with the project’s goals
By choosing the right moment for these games, agile teams can maximize their benefits, leading to improved performance, better communication, and a more cohesive team.
And if you use ClickUp as your project management platform, you can easily integrate agile processes into your workflows. This integration will help your team apply the insights and skills from the games to their daily tasks and projects.
25 Agile Games to Improve Teamwork and Collaboration
Here’s a list of 25 agile games designed to enhance teamwork, morale, and engagement within agile teams.
1. Kanban Pizza Game
The Kanban Pizza Game is a fun, hands-on activity designed to teach teams about the Kanban system. By simulating a pizza-making process, each team member learns key Kanban principles such as task visualization, workflow management, and limiting work in progress.
You start by splitting participants into teams of 4-5 each as pizza shops. You then give each team a table with columns titled Backlog, Make, Bake, Deliver. Teams also get sticky notes representing pizza orders.
In the first round, teams take orders from the backlog and go through the process column. Only a WIP (work-in-progress) limit of one pizza per column is allowed, and customers get angry if the order takes over three minutes.
In the second round, you add an “Expedite” column after the “Bake” column and teams prioritize rush orders in “Expedite”. As you progress to round three, you increase the WIP limit to two per column and add more orders to simulate load.
The aim is to optimize the pizza-making process by applying Kanban strategies.
Teams can transfer these learnings to real sprints by setting up digital Kanban boards in the ClickUp Board View.
2. Agile Clock
The Agile Clock game is designed to deepen understanding of the Agile Manifesto’s 12 principles. It challenges teams to succinctly express these principles, honing their grasp of agile concepts and improving team communication.
Teams must represent each of the 12 Agile Manifesto principles in a limited time frame. They can do this by distilling each principle into a few words or a simple image on a sticky note, creating a ‘clock’ with each principle stuck at different ‘hours.’ The exercise emphasizes effective communication, quick thinking, and a deep understanding of agile values.
Integrating these lessons with ClickUp Goals allows for real-time tracking and adjustments, translating skills learned from the game into practical project management capabilities.
3. Impact & Effort Matrix
The Impact & Effort Matrix game is a strategic activity used in agile environments to help teams prioritize tasks.
Participants list potential tasks or features and then plot them on a matrix based on their estimated impact and the effort needed to complete them. The exercise encourages teams to think critically about where to focus their resources to drive maximum value.
ClickUp’s Priority Matrix Template can further help teams visualize and organize these priorities, leading to improved project planning and execution as well as team cohesion.
4. Estimation Game
The Estimation Game is an agile exercise aimed at improving a team’s ability to estimate the time and resources needed for tasks. This game is crucial in agile projects, particularly for Sprint planning and backlog grooming, where accurate estimations are key to successful project delivery.
The goal is to reach a consensus on each task’s estimation through discussion and collaboration between each team member in remote teams, fostering a better understanding of task complexity and resource allocation.
Using the Time Estimates ClickApp, teams can set estimates for how long individual tasks take. Based on these estimates, they can better plan the time required for the entire project. For large tasks with multiple assignees, you can also set different Time Estimates for each person.
5. Design Sprints
Design Sprints are structured brainstorming sessions aimed at rapid problem-solving and prototyping within agile Scrum teams.
The process typically spans five phases. Teams start by understanding the problem, then brainstorm a range of solutions (Diverge), narrow down to the most feasible ones (Converge), build prototypes, and finally test these with real users.
The iterative nature of this game encourages constant refinement and agile thinking. Using the ClickUp Sprints Template, teams can plan, execute, and review each phase of the design sprint, integrating these agile methodologies into their project workflows.
6. Four-Step Sketch
The Four-Step Sketch is an agile game focused on rapid ideation and collaborative problem-solving. It encourages a Scrum team to quickly visualize solutions to given problems or challenges, promoting innovative thinking and creative design skills in the agile production process.
The process involves four steps: sketching the idea individually, sharing and discussing sketches within the team, combining and refining ideas, and finally, creating a unified solution.
ClickUp Whiteboards are an excellent tool for this purpose. They enable team members to brainstorm, sketch, and share ideas in a dynamic environment. Plus you can transform your ideas into ClickUp Tasks directly from your Whiteboards. Adding context to your work also becomes easier as Whiteboards can be linked to files, Docs, and more within ClickUp.
7. Stop Start Continue
Stop Start Continue is an agile retrospective game designed to enhance continuous improvement within teams. It encourages open feedback and constructive dialogue, focusing on identifying practices that should be stopped, started, or continued for better project outcomes.
The process involves three steps. First, each team member individually reflects and lists the practices or processes they think the team should stop doing, start doing, and continue doing. Then, these ideas are shared and discussed collectively. Finally, the team agrees on specific actions to be taken in each category (stop, start, continue) for future projects or sprints.
Pro tip: Use the ClickUp SSC Template to organize, track, and implement these insights, which lead to tangible improvements in your agile practices.
8. Agile Jeopardy
Agile Jeopardy is a quiz-style game designed to reinforce and test a Scrum team’s understanding of agile principles and practices. It’s an engaging way to ensure team members are aligned with agile methodologies and can recall key concepts effectively.
Teams compete to answer questions on select agile topics, gaining points for correct answers and possibly losing points for incorrect ones. This format encourages learning in a fun, competitive environment.
Reinforce and test the team’s understanding of agile principles through this engaging quiz game. Create and manage the quiz content collaboratively with ClickUp Docs, turning it into a dynamic and interactive learning experience that extends beyond just a game. Use Docs to maintain a quizzing wiki with nested pages and styling options that can be reused by different teams.
9. Product Box
The Product Box game helps teams better understand and communicate their product’s value proposition. It encourages innovation and customer-focused thinking by having team members design a ‘box’ for their product.
Teams discuss and decide what to include in their box, simulating the agile production process of defining and prioritizing product features based on customer feedback and marketability.
Use ClickUp for product development to extend the value of this exercise beyond the game. Showcase product designs in beautiful Docs, brainstorm ideas using ClickUp Mind Maps and Whiteboards, and plan your product roadmap with the ClickUp Product Roadmap Template!
10. Speed Boat
Speed Boat is an agile retrospective game that helps teams identify factors accelerating or hindering their progress.
Start by drawing a speedboat on a whiteboard or large sheet of paper. Give each team member sticky notes and markers.
Participants write issues slowing the team down on individual sticky notes—one issue per note. They place the sticky notes on the speedboat drawing as “anchors” weighing it down.
Then the team discusses each issue and how to resolve it. You can remove notes or “anchors” from the boat as solutions are identified and the boat catches more “wind”.
Documenting and tracking these discussions using the ClickUp SWOT Analysis Template ensures that your team applies the insights gained from the game to actual projects. This leads to improved Scrum team performance.
Spiderweb is a team-building exercise that involves creating a physical web to symbolize team interconnectedness and dependency. It’s particularly effective in illustrating how each team member’s contributions are crucial to the overall success of the project.
The connections & dependencies can be translated into ClickUp Mind Maps to clearly represent how each team member’s work contributes to the overall project.
It encourages continued recognition of each person’s role in the team and fosters a collaborative environment, aligning with agile principles of teamwork and collective responsibility.
12. Agile Ball Point Game
The Agile Ball Point Game teaches teams about agile production processes and the importance of self-organization. It demonstrates the principles of flow, process efficiency, and continuous improvement.
Teams pass balls to simulate a workflow process, learning about bottlenecks and how to optimize operations. Each time aims at getting as many balls through the system as possible in three sprints.
There are some rules to keep in mind:
- The ball needs to start and end with the same person
- The ball must have passed through everyone in the team
- The ball must have air time
- It can’t be passed to the person next to them
- If the ball is dropped, it does not count
The game emphasizes the importance of teamwork, communication, and iterative process improvements.
13. Dot Voting
Dot Voting is a simple yet effective retrospective technique used in the agile methodology. It’s particularly useful to prioritize ideas, problems, or solutions.
The team starts by brainstorming and listing ideas, issues, or improvements on a board or a shared document. Each team member is then given a limited number of ‘dots’ (votes), which they can distribute among the listed items.
They can place all their dots on one item or spread them across several. The items with the most dots are prioritized for discussion and action. This process helps the team to identify and agree on the key focus areas collectively.
Teams can then create tasks for each high-priority item, using ClickUp’s features to assign, track, and update their progress. This ensures that insights from the retrospective are actioned upon, aligning with agile principles of continuous improvement and team-driven decision-making.
14. The Marshmallow Challenge
The objective in this agile game is to build the tallest freestanding structure using items like spaghetti sticks, tape, string, and a marshmallow. The catch? You’ve limited time to do so and you must have the marshmallow at the top.
The activity encourages teams to prototype rapidly, test their structures, and iterate based on what works and what doesn’t.
The game captures the agile mindset of learning through action. And the short timeframe promotes creativity under pressure.
You can treat the game as a project and record the teams’ strategies and outcomes using the ClickUp Retrospectives Template, helping teams apply the lessons in everyday project management.
15. Lean Coffee
Lean Coffee is an open-format meeting style where a team democratically chooses and explores discussion topics.
Participants gather and propose topics for discussion by writing them on sticky notes or cards. These topics are then prioritized through a group voting process. The format encourages active participation, ensuring that the most relevant and pressing issues are addressed.
Using ClickUp Lists to organize and prioritize discussion topics ensures these conversations are productive and aligned with the team’s goals.
16. The Iteration Game
The Iteration Game is an agile exercise focusing on the principle of iterative development. It teaches teams the value of making small, continuous improvements to a product or process, reflecting a core concept in agile methodologies.
Teams work on a project or task in multiple short iterations, with each iteration aiming to improve upon the last. The game often involves a simple, repeatable task, allowing teams to see the impact of iterative changes and the importance of feedback in shaping the final outcome.
17. Scrum Simulation with LEGO
Scrum Simulation with LEGO is an engaging and hands-on game that teaches the fundamentals of Scrum methodology using LEGO blocks. This exercise is particularly effective for illustrating the Scrum framework, roles, and ceremonies in a tangible and interactive way.
Teams use LEGO blocks to simulate the Scrum process, from Sprint planning to review. Team members take on roles like Scrum Master and Development Team, learning about collaboration, iteration, and incremental development in a fun setting.
Plan and track each sprint using the ClickUp Agile Scrum Management Template, offering a digital counterpart to the physical LEGO simulation, combining hands-on learning with practical application.
18. The Name Game
The Name Game is a simple yet effective activity designed to improve team bonding and memory skills. It’s particularly beneficial for new teams or teams with new members, helping to break the ice and foster a sense of familiarity and camaraderie.
In this game, one note-taker tries to note down a stream of information such as names, goals, and challenges flowing in from multiple sources simultaneously. The sources are the team members, and each member takes turns being the note-taker.
The challenge increases as more names and facts are added, requiring participants to pay close attention and remember more information. This game is great for building listening skills and helping team members learn more about each other.
Use ClickUp Tasks creatively to store and reference these names and facts. It’s an excellent tool for reinforcing information and fostering team camaraderie.
19. Crazy Eights
Crazy Eights is an agile brainstorming and ideation game that encourages rapid idea generation. It’s often used in design thinking and agile workshops to spark creativity and explore a wide range of solutions.
Each participant gets a sheet of paper divided into eight sections. They have eight minutes to sketch or write down eight different ideas, spending one minute on each. The focus is on quantity over quality, encouraging out-of-the-box thinking.
ClickUp time tracking features can be used in similar brainstorming sessions to ensure time-boxed idea generation. Ideas from Crazy Eights can be recorded in ClickUp, either as tasks, in Docs, or on Whiteboards, for further development and implementation.
This method helps translate quick, creative brainstorming into actionable project tasks, aligning with agile methodologies focused on iterative and collaborative development.
20. User Story Mapping
User Story Mapping helps teams empathize with users and understand their needs. It’s a collaborative process that helps teams create a user-focused framework for product development, ensuring that the final product aligns closely with customer requirements.
The process involves organizing user stories along a timeline or workflow, identifying dependencies, and prioritizing tasks based on user value. This mapping helps teams understand the big picture and make informed decisions about what to build first.
ClickUp’s User Story Template is a collaborative tool for creating, sharing, and further developing these user stories, ensuring user needs are central to project planning and execution.
21. The Penny Game
This game shows the concept of batch size and its impact on workflow in production systems. It’s particularly effective in teaching teams about the impact of work-in-progress limits and optimizing process flows.
The game is played in rounds, each with different rules for how pennies can be passed. Teams handle pennies (or similar small items) in different batch sizes, learning about efficiency and process flow.
The objective is to complete the task as quickly as possible, highlighting how different approaches affect overall efficiency and throughput.
Use ClickUp for Agile teams to improve workflows based on your needs, collaborate in one place, and customize tasks. It allows your team to get high-level views and fast-track development.
22. Agile Bingo
Agile Bingo is a playful way to reinforce agile concepts and practices. It turns the learning process into an engaging activity, promoting a deeper understanding of agile concepts in a relaxed environment.
Create Bingo cards with terms like “MVP”, “Retrospective”, “User Story” etc., and prepare a pool of definitions for each term. Take turns pulling definitions and reading them aloud.
The team members will mark matching terms on their cards. The first to complete a row, column, or diagonal—or fill the entire card—shouts “Bingo!” and wins.
23. The Non-Musical Chairs
The Non-Musical Chairs is a discussion-based agile game focused on open communication and addressing team dynamics. Unlike its musical counterpart, this game centers on dialogue and reflection, making it an excellent tool for agile team building and problem-solving.
In this activity, team members sit in a circle with one fewer chair than the number of participants. When the music stops, instead of racing for a chair, the person left standing shares their thoughts on a pre-determined topic related to team performance or dynamics.
Following the game, ClickUp Form View can help document insights, feedback, and action points from these discussions, helping teams track progress and make necessary adjustments.
24. Tower Building
Engage teams in a creative and strategic exercise of building the tallest tower using limited resources.
The exercise demands creativity, strategy, and effective communication as team members decide how to best use their resources to achieve the goal. It’s an exercise in balancing ambition with practicality, encouraging teams to think innovatively while managing constraints.
Using ClickUp for project management, teams can plan their building strategies, review their approaches post-activity, and apply these learnings to improve teamwork and project management skills.
25. Empathy Mapping
Empathy Mapping is a powerful game for understanding user perspectives and needs. It’s a collaborative activity that focuses on building empathy for the target audience, which is crucial for user-centered product development.
The process involves brainstorming and discussing user experiences, needs, and motivations, and then organizing these insights into the empathy map. This exercise encourages teams to step into their users’ shoes, fostering a deeper understanding of user needs and behaviors.
ClickUp’s Empathy Map Whiteboard Template offers a collaborative space for creating, sharing, and developing these empathy maps, integrating these valuable user insights into the team’s project planning and development process.
Make Learning and Improvement Fun with Agile Games
Using these 25 agile games for your team’s learning is more than just a fun diversion. It’s a strategic move toward building a stronger, more cohesive, and high-performing agile team.
Each game, with its unique focus and learning outcomes, will enhance various aspects of agile teamwork, from improving communication and problem-solving skills to fostering a culture of continuous improvement and collaboration.
ClickUp is the ideal platform to bring these games to life in a real-world context. Whether tracking progress in the Kanban Pizza Game using Board View, organizing discussions from Lean Coffee with Lists, or reflecting on team dynamics with the Stop Start Continue template, ClickUp enhances the effectiveness of each game.
Embrace these agile games as a catalyst for growth, and let ClickUp be your partner in this journey of continuous improvement.
Start transforming your team’s dynamics today with ClickUp for Agile Teams.