Paper Plane Game


To demonstrate the power of time-box or Sprint that makes the heartbeat of an agile framework like Scrum.

Type:  Team Game

How many can you build in three minutes?

Time Needed: 45 minutes

Number of people per team: 6

Supplies Needed:

  1. Used Printer Paper 50 per team
  2. One flip chart and a marker to keep score

The goal of the game:

The goal of the game is for each team to create as much high quality tested planes that can fly a distance of at least 30 meters . The world record holder last checked in June 2016 was somewhere in Germany

Each iteration last 9 minutes.

IMG_0974 (1)
One fold at a time
  1. 3 minutes for planning,
  2. 3 minutes of actual build ( test included) time,
  3. 3 minutes for review/retrospective – 

Rules for playing the game:

  1. Build as many paper planes as you can in a 3-minute time box.
  2. One player can only do one fold at a time. That rules stays true for all three time-boxes.
  3. The planes should be built

    and tested in the 3-minute increment

  4. Only planes that cross 30 meters will be counted
  5. Each team should give a count of how many planes they are going to build before the time-box starts.
  6. Subtract the final count of planes that actually flew from the planes that were built but were not tested or completed.  Eg: Team A said they will make 4 planes, 7 planes flew all the way but 5 were WIP ( work in progress). Subtract WIP so the actual is 7-5 =2
  7. The team has to come up with one idea of improvement at the retrospective. Have one member in the team be the counter.
  8. The front of the plane should be blunt to avoid injury to the team members.
  9. You cannot crush the plane into a ball and throw.

Please recycle the paper once done

Debrief: ( pick any two )

  • Each table talks about what made them improve over the three iterations
  • Talk about what would have happened if the time box was not there
  • Talk about how waterfall may be different from this.
  • Talk about who made the final design decisions in the team.
  • Talk about any wastes they removed from the system that helped them get better.


Original Creator: Not me. I am still trying to find out. I learned it from another trainer.

There are many variations of this game. This is one way I  use it in my workshops


Unlike Monopoly – The Best Scrum Simulation Game for Workshops


I have been teaching Agile workshops since 2007. I have experimented with various games over the years. In 2014 or so I modified the Scrum Simulation game which I do in day 2 of my workshop and found that people got hooked into this.
Some twists this game has makes it a real learning This article is a facilitator guide on how to run this game. I have played this game more than 100 times and always had amazing results.

Name of the Game – Unlike Monopoly – A Scrum Simulation

Length of this game:  3 hours 

Learning Objectives

  1. Learn how to use the Scrum Framework
  2. Learn the power of Timeboxing
  3. That architecture evolves over Sprints.
  4. The power of working increment at the end of every sprint
  5. Experience high-performance teamwork
  6. Learn about how learning about the product in each sprint is essential to build better products
  7. Learn how early  Customer feedback is critical to the success
  8. Learn that even adults can have some fun and draw, paint, dance etc

Supplies needed:

  1. Something for board
  2. Glue sticks
  3. Playdoh
  4. Voting Dots
  5. Crayons
  6. Clear Tape
  7. Scissors
  8. Rubberbands
  9. Any kinds of Arts Supplies


Rules of the game: 

In a flip chart write down the following simple rules for this game:

  1. The game should be unlike Monopoly.  Monopoly is still one of the most sold board games. However, it has its own issues, long gameplay time, a winner in this game takes time etc.
  2. The game should have a clear start and end.
  3. Minimum game time should be 10 minutes at the end of three sprints.
  4. There must movement in the game for the players. For e.g, they could be jumping, running, moving around the table etc.
  5. Each team can come with its theme for the game. For eg. One version of a game they built Woofopoly – a game for dogs
  6. Once we build the game,  people in the workshops including invited guests will play the game for at least 15 minutes.

There are three parts to this game:

Part 1 – Ideation– 1 Hour 10 minutes

Part 2 – Build And Ship – 1.5 hours  Three sprints to get the game ready to ship

Part 3 – Play the game

Part 1:  Ideation –  1  Hour 10 minutes

This part when I have skipped ended up in more mess in the actual sprinting process.

Step 1- Pick a theme – 10 minutes Tell the team that they should pick a theme that can compete on the shelves with Monopoly. Encourage them that first they collect all ideas on sticky notes, and then pick one concept from the list.

Step 2- Product backlog Refresher. – 15 minutes Explain What is a Product Backlog, That each item should be an increment of value ( for e.g.) if they write an item called to build a dice, that is not of value as by just building a dice. Introduce Epics, Theme.

Introduce what is a user story and concept of Acceptance Criteria

Step 3 –  Write backlog items and get some of them ready.  Let the team sit down and write product backlog items – 45 minutes

Given the team time to write some of the stories, have the Product owner in the team order the backlog, and they write acceptance criteria for at least 3 -4 items to start with. One template to use for acceptance criteria is –

  • What does it look like
  • How does it behave
  • What should it not do?

Tell them to capture the discussion around these three questions as acceptance criteria.
Challenge the team if you see stories that do not add an increment of value or look more like tasks. I have them completely restart at times.

Part 2 – Build and Ship 

Setup – In this phase, the teams will build the product in three sprints. Each sprint has 27 minutes.

  1. Sprint planning –   3 minutes
  2. Day 1 – 8 minutes
  3. Daily Scrum – 2 minutes
  4. Day 2 – 8 minutes
  5. Sprint Review – 3 Minutes
  6. Sprint Retro – 3 Minutes

Keep a visual indicator for this.

Also generally playing some lively music during the sprints day 1 and day 2, will keep the energy high, ALso before starting sprints take a break. That way you can go all the way

Giving instructions: Tell them how the time would work. Identify a facilitator in each team and tell them to self-score and tell them to follow all the Scrum Practices they have learned so far. Show them how the big timer works. See timer eg below

Start a timer( google one is good)  for 27 minutes on a big screen

Let the teams start Scrumming. After the first sprint is over, I give a coaching report of what I observed about how the teams did as far as following the process goes. Not more than a minute per team.


Part 3 – Play –  Tell each team to pick a marketing person on the team and do a 30-sec pitch and answer one question – “Why should we play their game”. Once every team has pitched, asked everyone to move to some game and start the timer for 10 minutes. After 3 minutes ask those who played the game their instant feedback to those who built on what they liked about the game and any ideas they see for improvement.

That is it, the simulation ends.  As a coach observe for these things

  1. Did the do their stand up? Did impediments emerge
  2. Did Scrum Master remove impediments
  3. Were they following the Scrum Process, sometimes in the fun they have they forget completely about the main reason for this simulation is to practice Scrum.
  4. Did they create a working at the end of every sprint?