It’s difficult to teach the principles of Lean and Agile simply by lecturing. People need to experience the principles by themselves to get a feeling for how it all works. By playing a game, you can gain experience without messing up your daily work or getting engrossed in the technical details. This is why games and simulations are used to help people learn and evolve in a better direction.

With the Kanban Pizza Game 2015, participants can discover what Kanban feels like. While other Kanban games are usually focusing only on the mechanics of the board and on the flow in an existing Kanban system, the Kanban Pizza Game (initially developed by Agile 42) teaches you how to get from an existing process to a Kanban system.

The Kanban Pizza Game by agile42 is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License.



Outline/Structure of the Workshop

Narrative courtesy of Agile 42:

The Kanban Pizza Game was initially developed by Agile 42: detailing valuable learning objectives for participants:

  • Experience how a Kanban system emerges from an existing process (like we do it in the real world)
  • Experience a whole Kanban system (as opposed to focusing only on the Kanban board and related mechanics)
  • Understand that boards are context-dependent: for any given process there are many different board designs that are adequate and useful, but not necessarily one single optimal board
  • Understand the effects of limiting your Work in Progress
  • Experience self-organization and adaptation
  • Have fun!

My enhanced 2015 version introduces additional features to the game that reflect real-life impacts to individual and team performance.  The new features include:

  • Incentives
  • Scope change
  • Capacity variability

Learning Outcome

Participants gained a powerful insight and hands-on learning of:

  • The core Kanban principles
  • Transparency
  • Workflow visualization
  • Value stream
  • Prioritization / impact
  • Requirements
  • Scope change
  • Waste
  • Throughput
  • Flow theory
  • Measurements
  • Cycle time
  • Batch sizes
  • Queues
  • Blocked items
  • Bottlenecks
  • Systems thinking
  • Kaizen/continuous improvement

I have been running this workshop for teams all over the world and have introduced as a core module to the Product Owner training that I deliver.  

The workshop is an excellent training and coaching opportunity for anyone involved in producing a product.

Target Audience

Anyone involved in the development lifecycle or production of a product

schedule Submitted 5 years ago

Public Feedback

comment Suggest improvements to the Speaker
  • Joel Tosi
    By Joel Tosi  ~  5 years ago
    reply Reply

    Hi Kevin,

        While the Kanban pizza game is fun and interesting, we are asking attendees to give up half of one of their days to attend this.  If you were an attendee, would that be worth it?  I'm not trying to be rude so please do not take it that way, my concern is that this would have to be better learning outcomes than three sessions - do you feel this can live up to that expectation?



    • Kevin Austin
      By Kevin Austin  ~  5 years ago
      reply Reply

      Hi Joel - thank you for your question, and you are absolutely correct to ask.  The Learning Outcomes from the session are powerful and long lasting; so much so based on feedback, I now run the Kanban Pizza Game as part of the Product Owner Training and Scrum Training that I deliver.  It helps people at any level of the organization to experience and understand the Learning Outcomes.  The Pizza Game workshop is always one of the highest rated experiences from attendees.

      The Kanban Pizza Game can be run over 2 or 3 hours.  People learn best when they have hands-on experience and participate; therefore, from an attendees perspective, they get every Learning Outcome, which is far more vaulable than listening to several presentations.

      From my experience of working in India and attending Agile India, the Kanban Pizza Game will be welcomed and well received.

      I have no doubt this workshop can exceed expectations - where attendees will have experienced the Learning Outcomes and will be able to run the workshop with their own team/s or organization.

      Please let me know if you have more questions and I will be happy to discuss.



      • Naresh Jain
        By Naresh Jain  ~  5 years ago
        reply Reply

        While I agree to your points Kevin, I think it would be really hard to dedicate 1/2 day to this workshop. Can you please consider finishing this workshop in 90 mins?

        • Kevin Austin
          By Kevin Austin  ~  5 years ago
          reply Reply

          Of course, 90mins is fine also.  I will simply reduce the iteration times while maintaining all of the workshop format and benefits.

          Attendees will still get the full coaching and learning experience.


          • Jerry Rajamoney
            By Jerry Rajamoney  ~  5 years ago
            reply Reply

            Hi Kevin,

            Correct me if I am wrong. The Pizza game is the very popular one being practised by many for few years now. But you had mentioned that Kanban Pizza Game "2015". Is this very different from the earlier ones? What is the one uniqueness about this game compared to earlier? Also since you have mentioned that 90 minutes is fine in your response my concern is: you are trying to cover 18 learning outcome in 90 minutes (approx. 5 minutes per Learning Outcome). Is that time too short?

            • Kevin Austin
              By Kevin Austin  ~  5 years ago
              reply Reply

              Hi Jerry,

              Good questions and thank you for asking.

              Is this very different from earlier ones?  Yes, I have added additional features that reflect real-life organizational systems. These new elements ensure a fun and memorable learning experience.  I discussed the new features with the Agile42 guys and they reviewed and approved of the enhancements.

              What is the uniqueness about this game? A few things are unqiue - the important new features, my unique delivery style, and attendees receive a coaching pack that provides tips and guidance to deliver the "2015" version across different timeboxes; 90mins, 2 hours, and 3 hours.

              18 Learning Outcomes in 90mins - is that time to short? No, the time is not too short. Quite the opposite - 90mins is an optimal timebox for a varied group (different people, different backgrounds) to experience an accelerated learning workshop.  Within the 90mins, I will take a group of people and quickly evolve them to being a team of people, where they will be inspired from the game and their learning.  Anything less than 90mins and it would be too rushed. 90mins is a good baseline for people to experience and gain insight to the Learning Outcomes.

              The "2015" version has evolved based on feedback from my training sessions across the US, UK, and India. The "2015" version is a powerful (and sometimes painful) learning experience - the "2015" session works very well, is always highly rated, and attendees gain valuable insights to the Learning Outcomes.

              Please let me know if you have further questions and I will be happy to discuss.



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