Would you like to try out a tool that has the power to ignite exciting discussions that challenges the team and that possibly inspires to new improvement actions? Then you should try out the Jimmy Cards! So, what is “Jimmy Cards”? Simply put it, it’s a deck of challenging questions and riddles for the agile team.
Or buy the digital-print-it-yourself decks of the Red, Black and Blue decks.
Jimmy Cards are a set of cards with different questions.
There are no right or wrong answers, instead the questions are designed to inspire discussions within the team. They can be used as an ice-breakers for a new team or on retrospectives as discussion topics. Each deck consists of 51 questions (and four other cards).
The Red deck is perfect for building strong teams.
Try the Black deck if you’re a mature team that has been working together for quite some time.
The Blue deck is designed to trigger good discussion within a group of managers and leaders.
When to use them?
You can use the deck of questions any way you want. When I wrote them I imagined a team using them as ice-breaker for the retrospective or as a way to have focused discussion topics for the teams recurring Wednesday coffee break.
The deck contains 51 questions. There are no right or wrong answers, instead the questions are designed to inspire discussions within the team.
- If you could measure technical debt, what would the unit be?
- Which book do you wish everyone in the team had read?
- When was the last time you messed something up (at work)?
How to use them?
Ice-breaker version 1 Shuffle the cards. Draw a card. Read the question out loud. Pause for a couple of seconds to give everyone a chance to think. Take turns answering the question. While you are listening to other peoples answers, note down your follow-up questions, thoughts and reflections.
Ice-breaker version 2 One person shuffles and draws one card. He/she reads the question silently and then decides who should answer it. That person reads the question out loud and answers it. When done, he/she draws a new card, and chooses who should answer. Continue until everyone has got a chance to answer a question.
Retrospective version As Ice-breaker version 1 but the round ends with a discussion on any actions the team wants to take. When one or more actions has been identified a new question is drawn. Continue until
Big retrospective version At one retrospective involving 20 people we had the participants split up into four groups. Each group took turn answering a question provided by one of the other groups. As the group discussed the question all other groups listened in on the discussion and wrote down topics, reflections and ideas that the would like to discuss further (inspired by the discussion they eavesdropped on). The retrospective then continues with deeper discussions on a few of those topics.
This is examples of some feedback that I’ve got…
”Thank you so much for creating this. You have improved our scrum member introspection process tremendously.”
”I wanted to take a moment to let you know how much my scrum team loves the Jimmy cards and how we are desperate for more. Three times a week, following our daily scrum, we meet in the kitchen for some coffee, fika, and a round of cards.”
”Used the cards today for the first time in our fairly new team. We got some really interesting discussions and a few laughs too. Thanks Jimmy! Will use them again!”
”I used your cards to stir things up and steer conversation to highlight practices that were deteriorating as well as calling out some niggling concerns people have has but have not yet reached a stage where they felt they should be known. The Jimmy cards session help raise these issues earlier and they were addressed earlier. The team felt that they were so useful they suggested that we have a short session with the cards at each retrospective (this ended up being to frequent so we now do it every 4 weeks or two iterations)”