Chapter 13. Teaching kanban through games


This chapter covers

  • Using games and simulations to teach the principles of kanban
  • Leading discussions that help teams apply these principles in their daily work
  • Using the getKanban simulation as a standalone introduction to kanban

This chapter presents some games we’ve played and used to introduce teams to kanban. We didn’t invent them, so we’ll try to attribute them correctly. Some of the games in the agile community are almost mythical and seem like they’ve been around forever. The true source or creator can be hidden in all the variants and changes made to the game over the years. We’ve gone through our network of colleagues to try to find the sources for the games we introduce—hopefully we’ve tracked down the correct ones. If we’ve failed to do so, we’re sorry; please help us correct this by sending us a message via the Author Online link at

As you start to use kanban with your team and at your workplace, you’ll soon find others around you who are interested in what you’re doing. It might even be the case that you’ve begun to introduce others to the concepts. If you’re anything like us, you’ll soon be teaching kanban concepts and practices.

13.1. Pass the Pennies

13.2. The Number Multitasking Game

13.3. The Dot Game

13.4. The Bottleneck Game

13.5. getKanban

13.6. The Kanban Pizza Game

13.7. Summary