Agile game series – Kanban pizza game

Understand what Kanban is and practice some lean concepts in a safe environment outside of your daily work by playing the Kanban Pizza Game

Things required for the game:

  1. Post-Its in three colors for each team
  2. White sheets so that you can draw tomato sauce on them
  3. Red markers for each team
  4. Scissors for each team
  5. Oven plate one per team

Rules of the game

Normal Pizza

  • Pizza base
  • Tomato Puree
  • 3 pieces of cheese
  • 3 pieces of capsicum
  • 3 pieces of corn

Special Pizza

  • Pizza base
  • Tomato Puree
  • 3 pieces of cheese
  • 3 pieces of capsicum
  • 5 pieces of olives
  • 3 pieces of corn


  • Each finished pizza gives 5 points
  • Unused pieces: -1 point
  • Unused pizza base: – 2 points
  • Burned pizza: -5 points, all materials count as unused agile transformation pizza game


How to play the game:

1)     Create a process  At the start of the game, let teams make as many normal pizza slices as possible without wasting. Before starting the first round, create a pizza slice and show it to the team so that they can replicate it. Share the constraints of the oven plate.

  1. Maximum of three slices of pizza can be there in the oven plate
  2. Cooking time is 30sec and more than 45 sec, the pizza will get burnt
  3. No slices can be added or removed while baking

Now ask each team to make maximum number of pizzas without wasting the raw material in five minutes. Let each team note the number of pizzas made, approved by the client, and the count of leftover raw materials. better project management through agile games

2)     Introduce Kanban Once the first round is over, introduce Kanban to the teams. It is a tool that allows optimization of a process by visualizing it. There are three main prescriptions: -Visualize the workflow -Limit work in progress (WIP) -Measure and optimize the average lead time. After this, ask the teams to calculate their scores based on the scoring criteria. The scores help in promotion of “Limit your WIP”. Write the scores on the whiteboard. Now let your teams answer some questions among themselves:

  1. Can we visualize the process?
  2. We should also limit our work in progress and see whether the materials were piling up, what should be the sensible WIP limit for every step?
  3. How was the quality of the pizza?

Let the teams throw the delivered pizzas but keep the unused material for the next round.

3)      Start the second round with established Kanban system Again ask the teams to bake pizzas and at the end of five minutes count the scores. Now give a minute to every team to retrospect what went well & what did not. Ask the team to rebuild their workflow if it is not working well and try different WIP limits. Agile games for transformation

4)     Third and the final round Make this round a bit tough. Introduce a special pizza apart from normal pizza and include customer orders as well. Customers can order any amount and any type of pizza. Once the order is completed then only the team gets points. Allow the team members to discuss and improve their workflow. Run the round and calculate the points.


  • Only three slices of pizza can be put in the oven at a time
  • A pizza has to bake for 30 sec and is burned after 45 sec. For this a time keeper will be there for each team
  • After the oven is closed, no other piece must be put in until the baking time has elapsed
  • Each person can perform only one task
  • Client must approve the pizza for look and quality

Learning from the game – Bottlenecks become clearly visible, leading to increased collaboration – Evolutionary path to agile software development – Provides a way to be agile without iterations, starting where you are – Natural tendency to spread throughout an organization

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Co-founder of People10, a 'total agile' software development and consulting company

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