30 Seconds: The Scrum Edition

Currently I’m helping an organisation with the adoption of the Scrum framework. It’s the intention to introduce the Scrum values, principles and practices and get 16 teams up-and-running. This isn’t done in a big-bang fashion but more by using a start small pattern. First start with three teams, get them successfully using the basics of Scrum and expand from there. In an 8-week bootcamp the Scrum framework is introduced to these teams. It encompasses intensive training, coaching and workshop facilitation. It also contains useful games to share knowledge and increase learning in a fun and energetic way.

This week, my colleague Barry Heins played the game “30 Seconds: the Scrum Edition”. This game is based on the original “30 Seconds” game and tweaked into a Scrum version. Based on his experience he wrote a Dutch blog post explaining the rules. Because I really like his ideas I’ve translated the article and offer it as some sort of a guest post.

What is this game about?

30 Seconds is a fast-paced general knowledge game. One player must guess a word from their teammate’s explanation, with the aim to guess as many possible answers in 30 seconds. The main restriction on the explanation is that it may not contain the actual word or part of the word. A more comprehensive description can be found on Wikipedia.

For the Scrum Edition we’ve created cards with Scrum terminology on it. We’ve also used topics based on XP, Agile and Kanban.

What is the source?

The Scrum edition of the game is based on the original 30 Seconds game designed by Calie Esterhuyse.


± 30 minutes

How I’ve used it

We’ve played this game after a Daily Scrum, using a time-box of 30 minutes. The Scrum team was divided in two smaller teams. One person took a card with Scrum terminology on it and tried to describe it within 30 seconds. The other team members guessed as many possible answers within 30 seconds.

Because we’ve used this game during a Scrum startup bootcamp we didn’t add any advanced terms to the cards. Of course you can extend the cards with terminology from e.g. scaling frameworks, organisational change etc. This ensures the game is also relevant to play with more experienced teams.

What you need

My advice would be the buy the original game with the dices and board. The cards with the Scrum terminology are pretty easy to create yourself. Having the original game also enables you to play a test-round with the cards from the game itself. When everyone understands the game you can switch to the Scrum cards.

Facilitation Tips

  • Use a time-box for the game: 30 minutes is enough to discuss all the cards and keep the team’s energy sufficient;
  • Test-round: play a test-round with the cards from the original game. This is something we haven’t done and as a result the first round was pretty inefficient. Especially when team members don’t know the original game this is an essential step.
  • Team members should have some basic Scrum knowledge. We’ve played the game after having provided a training and finished 2 Sprints.

The Result

The game proved to be a fun and useful way to assess the teams knowledge of Scrum. Of course, you can do all kinds of online assessments, for example the Scrum.org open assessments. However, nothing is more effective than explaining the gained knowledge to someone else. By explaining it (without using the actual term written on the cards) you’ll discover if you really understand the topic. What’s also important: the game is lot’s of fun and will strengthen the team spirit for sure!


This blog post is about the game “30 Seconds: the Scrum Edition” described and used by my colleague Barry Heins. As a Scrum Master I’m always interested in practices and games that enable team to learn and have some fun. Therefore this game definitely fits my Scrum Master toolbox.

Are you going to play this game with your Scrum Team as well? Would love to learn from your experiences!

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