Capability growth · Decisions · Events · Games · Products · Risk

Finally launched my agile training game

We set up a stand at the recent Software Development Conference to run the Agile Release Planning Game I designed.

It seemed to go down really well, so I have decided to make the game available publicly if anyone is interested in using it.

In the game, participants are a group of scientists and engineers who are stuck on Mars after a “less than successful” landing.  They are on a mission to make scientific discoveries but must now rebuild a basic infrastructure for survival before returning to their original mission.

Participants then create a strategy based on rebuilding their ship, building a base and/or returning to their basic goal of research.  In doing so they must make trade-offs between quality and velocity.

The game introduces concepts such as release planning, iteration planning, velocity, release planning trade-offs, building by feature and adaptive planning.

The game is designed to be led by a facilitator, but can be run without one.  The release planning game takes around half an hour to play and can be replayed multiple times to explore different concepts in more detail or to improve the outcome based on lessons learned in the first attempt.

Different options allow the game to be played as a very simple introduction to the concepts of release planning or a more complex game involving more realistic trade-offs and decision making under conditions of uncertainty and pressure.

In addition, there is an extension included in the game that focuses on planning within the iteration (or sprint) rather than across the wider release.

Let me know if you are interested in learning more, or even trying the game for yourself.


6 thoughts on “Finally launched my agile training game

  1. I had the pleasure of working with James on the games stand at SDC in Wellington, and found that the game is an excellent way of explaining the concepts behind release planning, and then responding to the realities of what happens when the project actually gets underway.

    It is a wonderful tool to teach about the impact of technical debt and how adaptive planning actually works.

    I strongly encourage anyone who need to explain these concepts to get hold of James for a copy!

    Shane Hastie


  2. Hi James,

    Awesome game! I had the opportunity to play it in a workshop led by Philippe Kruchtner at Agile Brazil 2010. Very ilustrative way for presenting technical debt concept.
    One question. Where can I find the digitalized material?



    1. Hi Fabio

      I have been travelling this week, but I will be able to send you a digital copy of the game this weekend.


      1. Hi Fabio – I realised that I don’t have your contact details. Send me an email to and I will send you a copy of the game. I haven’t gotten around to loading it on the web yet.


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