Featureban’s new home

The Featureban game – a simple, fun, and highly customisable kanban simulation game – now has its very own page on agendashift.com. Any significant updates will be posted here on the Agendashift blog; join the Agendashift LinkedIn group to be sure of not missing anything.

Last week in Moscow I facilitated six concurrent games at Lean Kanban Russia 2015. We then used the game as our base scenario for a series of exercises on hypothesis-driven change, connected by an Agendashift assessment online. The two sessions together make up the morning half of our 1-day introductory workshop in Values-based change with Agendashift and the Kanban Method. You want a quick workshop? We can do it!

Visit now: Featureban facilitation information and downloads. Not only is Featureban free, it is published under a Creative Commons license and is easily adaptable to your needs. Enjoy!

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7 thoughts on “Featureban’s new home

  1. Mike, I have run Featureban a good few times in unofficial training courses. When I run the game I want the main learning outcome to be that limiting WIP imroves lead times. However, on a flip of the coin, tails has a double sting (block some work item and start something new) whereas heads just unlocks or pulls and item to the right or starts new work(rare). Over simplying I know….the thing is the systems gets so blocked that the benefit limiting WIP doesn’t kick in until after a long time and it not so convincing. It didn’t help that tails turned up 70% of the time on average lol! Wherease if I allow heads to unblock a blocked item and pull something to the right, I see the learning outcome I desire. I appreciate that work is needed to unblock an item but that’s usually the flow manager and not the cross-functional team who unblocks. i’d value your thoughts.


    1. Hi John, Generally, there’s a lot of variation between games but if you’re running a few in parallel and as facilitator do a good job of timing the transition between uncontrolled and controlled WIP, there’s lots of learning to be had, regardless of the rules you choose. But try it! I’d be interested to see how it works out. Just don’t be too narrow in your learning objectives – fine to major on lead times, but to overlook (for example) the emergent effects on collaboration or to miss a full discussion on blockers and other impediments to flow would be unfortunate.


    2. Just to add… In iteration 1 there’s nothing to stop you forcing through a few items with short lead times but building up WIP that never goes anywhere meanwhile. So be careful what you measure!


  2. In my variation that I developed with @adavidkane (twitter handle for David Kane, Santeon coach/colleague), we adopted the use of playing cards. Red=Heads, Black=Tails.
    With cards, if we want to really run a simulation, we can keep the cards in the same order and have a ‘clean start’ (blank board) at Round 2, when there is a WIP limit.
    I supposed if you wanted to bias for heads using cards, you could load up a deck with more blacks than reds, but we had all the great learnings with a regular deck.

    Having caught up on the new guidelines that Mike posted, I do like the idea of starting where you are in Round 2. Its hard to incorporate that with the way we customized it for a repeat simulation with limits. Both ways have learnings, and I’ll certainly give that a try, or make it an option for groups that want to try that.


    1. Great idea! I believe Dimitar has experimented with reproducible runs also.

      Another idea we tried today in Stockholm: after getting frustrated with throwing too many tails, we introduced a “quality improvement”. If you throw tails, you get a second throw, the real-world analogy being that we might catch a defect (eg through automation) before it has any material impact on flow. We made this change mid-way through round 2, and it was very much welcomed!


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