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Team games

Was lucky enough to facilitate an awesome knowledge sharing session today with some peers where we discussed different games we’ve played with our teams at work, and in what scenarios they work best…

Here’s a summary of the stuff discussed and some supporting links:

Jenga – the facilitator simply wrote a topic on every block (before they started), such as Sport; Family; Education, Dumbest thing etc, and who-ever pulls a block reveals something about themselves to the team around that topic. Great as a fun way of getting to know each other better and encouraging sharing more of their whole-self  (and improving your jenga skills)

Agile paper planes – A multi-team game used to introduce Agile concepts and also to highlight how teams are currently working together

Penny game – the classic way to demonstrate how batch sizes influence flow of work

Lets Go Collaboration cards – Helps point an existing established team towards the right powerful conversation to help them move forward

Matching games e.g. the 5 dysfunctions of a team where you introduce the topic, then play a matching game to re-inforce the learning. So, you have the 5 dysfunctions printed on card on the floor, and separately you have 4 behaviours or statements for each which the group have to discus and align to the right one. You can download this one from the Adventures with Agile team genesis pack, but the same method can be applied to pretty much anything

Inspect and Adapt coaching cards – there were 3 of the 4 available packs on the table (Retrospectives, Scrum Master and Scrum mastery quotes). Perfect for providing topics for team conversations.

Strong suits – a tool (another pack of cards) to help people understand and articulate their strengths and those of their colleagues

Moving motivators (from Management 3.0) – used to find out what motivates colleagues, based on 10 intrinsic desires derived from the works of Dan Pink, Steven Reiss and Edward Deci.

Improv Cards are a great exercise to hone your storytelling and improvisational skills. They help people become better communicators and are great tools to use during team building sessions. (also from Management 3.0)

Lego – this can be used in so many fun ways. There’s even a specific methodology for using lego in organisations called Lego Serious Play with regular meet ups running all over the place. A powerful team session that I experienced using lego was where as individuals we created a model of the organisation we work in, then as a table group of 4 shared our models and then created a shared model. We then moved on to creating individual models of what we wanted our organisations to look like and again shared this as a table group to create a shared model. This then allowed for some probing and questions from the facilitator around what actions can we take to make this a reality, and  what is within our sphere of influence etc. Awesome stuff.

This is by no means an exhaustive list, but it’s a good start and reminder that work can (and should) be fun. There are loads of these free ideas and games available ( is a great place to bookmark) if you want to find more ideas.

Bottom line – We need to create different stimulus, environment and experiences for our colleagues and teams in order to get to know people at a deeper level, to share knowledge and content, and to make our offices awesome places to work. Now go forth and play!

“You can learn more about a person in an hour of play than you can from a lifetime of conversation” Plato
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