40 Seconds of Scrum: A Fun Scrum Game

Tags: Scrum Game

Scrums seems surprisingly easy. With only five 'Events', three 'Roles' and three 'Artifacts'. But teams frequently get confused by the terminology. Not to mention all the terminology that is related to Scrum, like 'User Stories', 'Epics', 'Technical Debt' and 'Pair Programming'.

To help teams better understand the terminology and how everything ties together, Barry Overeem and I have created '40 Seconds of Scrum'. Inspired by the Dutch boardgame '30 Seconds' and based on the first version of Barry Heins. Its a simple cardgame that you can use to practice with Scrum in a fun and quick manner.

How do you play it?

  • Form (at least) two teams of players. Teams can be any size, but 4 to 6 players tends to work best;
  • Starting with one team, a player takes a card from the deck and tries to describe as many of the terms as possible within 40 seconds without using the term itself. The team is awarded with one point for every term they manage to guess within 40 seconds. Write down the points on a flipchart or a post-it;
  • Alternate between teams to play several rounds. Depending on how much time you have, the team with the most points wins and gets a massive applause. So do the other teams;
  • Some of the terms may be new or unfamiliar. This is perfectly fine, and opens up an opportunity for a conversation about this topic after the game completes;

Riffs & Variations

  • Play one or two rounds after a Daily Scrum. There's no need to break up the team into sub-teams for this. Just award points for every correctly guessed term;
  • You can use the cards as a nice icebreaker or energizer. Ask people to form pairs. Give the pairs one card each. Ask one of the pair to describe the terms to the other person;
  • We recommend buying the official '30 Seconds'-game for the nice board and the additional rules. Replace the official deck of cards with '40 Seconds of Scrum'. A fun team activity if you have more time!

Where can I get a deck?

You'll have to ask Barry or me. We usually carry some decks with us, and frequently hand them out during training and coaching. So come meet us whenever we speak somewhere, facilitate a session or offer a workshop. You can always print your own set using Barry Heins' original set.

Christiaan Verwijs
Christiaan Verwijs

Scrum Master, Trainer, Developer & founder of Agilistic