Nexus Guide: Audio Version
June 19, 2019
Scrum Guide: Audio Version
July 25, 2019

The Penny Game

 
 

INSTRUCTIONS



Roles:

4 People – “Workers” – Seated at the table

4 People – “Managers” – Standing behind the Workers with stopwatches/cell phones

1 Person – Scribe/Facilitator – Writes down the times on the Flipchart & with a stopwatch/cell phone tracks how long it takes to process all the coins from start to finish

1 Person – Customer/Exec. – Has a stopwatch/cell phone tracking the time from the first coin from start to finish.


Setup:

Give the 20 coins to the first “worker” with all of the coins facing heads side up.

Setup the flip chart in a pace visible to all.


Objective:

To process the 20 coins through the system of workers as fast as possible.

To be processed, coins must be flipped – one at a time by the workes and with their left hand only – and then passed to the next worker in the chain who will do the same. Once the coins have been processed by all four workers, they are considered “done” with the round.

Workers may only pass the coins once the full batch of coins is complete.


Further instructions:

The managers of each worker will time how long it takes for their worker to process the 20 coins. Starting from when they pick the first one up and ending when they pass all coins to the next person.

The Scribe/Facilitator will also be timing how long it takes for the 20 coins to be processed completely

The Customer/Exec. will also be timing how long it takes for the first coin to be processed completely. In each, round, the facilitator will capture the time for each worker, the time for the first coin and the time for all 20 coins to be processed.


Rounds:


Round One:

Workers operate in batches of 20 i.e. they may only pass coins to the next worker once they have flipped all 20 coins.

Round Two:

Workers operate in batches of 10 i.e. they may pass a batch of 10 coins to the next worker once they have flipped 10 coins.

Round Three:

Workers operate in batches of 5 i.e. they may pass a batch of 5 coins to the next worker once they have flipped 5 coins.

Round Four:

Workers operate in batches of 1 i.e. they may pass each coin to the next worker once they have flipped it.


Endgame Analysis:

At the end of round 4, the facilitator will lead the group through the analysis of the timings.

Individual timings will typically increase while the time to get coins process goes down which gives the impression of each worker becoming less efficient (especially those at the end of the process) while the process itself becomes more efficient. Discussions around bottlenecks, cross-functionality etc will typically be instigated.


Variations:

Try throwing in a different sized coin into the process to see how teams cope with variations.

Try tracking how long it takes for an “urgent request” to get through the various batch-sized systems.