Improv Cards, established by Jurgen Appelo (Management 3.0), come in a set of 52 cards with intriguing images. Improv Cards are a great exercise to facilitate storytelling, improvisational skills and coming up with new ideas. I often use the Improv Cards in sprint retrospectives at the beginning for setting the stage. Using Improv cards brings people out of their comfort zone, but it’s still lot of fun.
More information about Improv Cards and a free download of the cards can be found here: https://management30.com/product/improv-cards/
There’re lots of ways to play with the Improv Cards. I like the following ones:
Way 1: Sprint representative
The cards are on the table (face up) and all team members are sitting around the table. Everbody chooses one card, that represents the sprint for him / her. After everyone has chosen, one after the other shows his card and explains the meaning.
Way 2: A story about the sprint
The cards are on the table (face down) and all team members are sitting around the table. Everybody takes 3 cards. Then the cards are turned face up and one after the other shows his card and tells based on the cards a story about the sprint.
Way 3: Title first, story second
The cards are on the table (face up) and all team members are sitting around the table. Dependent on the team size it’s better to use 2-3 decks of cards instead of only one.
Everybody chooses 4 cards: One card for the title of the sprint and three which represent topics in the last
Examples for titles:
Way 4: Cooperative story
Build small groups with 3 people. Every group gets a deck of cards. Everyone in the groups takes 2 (face down) cards. Then the cards are turned face up. One starts telling a story about the sprint using his / her first card, then the next one continues with his / her first card, then the third one. After the first round the first person continues with the second card and so on.
Advantages of using Improv Cards:
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