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Agile Bullshit

Most agile practitioners will have heard plenty of bullshit over the years.

"That wont work here"
"We don't need a Scrum Master, the Dev lead can do that"
"We don't need to speak to our customers to know what they want"

The list goes on...

Now the danger here is acceptance of these comments. Of not holding the mirror up to people saying these things and avoiding engaging them in a discussion to uncover why they hold these beliefs. Having these kinds of conversations can be tricky for sure, but we have to face into them in order to do our best work, and to help others navigate change.

What can help is being playful and creative in your approach to bullshit, which is what led me, Koen and Michele to create the Agile Bullshit card deck.

The deck has 56 bridge size cards. Each card contains a confronting statement and a matching image. We considered each statement as "bullshit". Even though this may sound harsh, the aim is exactly to trigger discussion about the statement:

  • Why is this bullshit?

  • Where does the statement come from?

  • And what to do differently?

How to use the deck?

  • As an ice breaker - let each participant pick a random card from the deck and discuss the card. Have they seen this before? What did you do about it?

  • During retrospectives - ask each team member to select a card they feel are the biggest risk for the team

  • Play online bingo - Michele made an online Agile Bullshit Bingo, based on the 90 ball British bingo (or Tombola in Italy), but with smaller bingo cards, only 2 rows (to match the 56 Bullshit cards)

  • Play in person bingo - You can print Agile Bullshit Bingo cards, a modified version of the American so-called 75 ball bingo, with the 5 by 5 bingo cards.

I recommend when playing bingo to start by simply calling the numbers on the cards, and when the first person gets a row of 5 to stop and discuss the related 5 cards as a group.

Enjoy using the deck, and please let me have any feedback! To order the physical cards, check the Shop page, have a look at the online version:

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