Emily Webber recently asked if I could run an 8-minute workshop to energise people at the beginning of her regular Agile in the Ether remote meetup. (It is a very friendly meetup and well worth checking out).

This is the detail of the game I facilitated:


Tell a story that develops iteratively and everyone in the group contributes to.


Each person adds a sentence to a story, but has to repeat the preceding sentences first, then nominates the next person to go. (It may help for the facilitator to start).

For example:

Person 1: ‘Once upon a time there was a girl called Sam.’ Person 2: ‘Once upon a time there was a girl called Sam. She liked to ride bikes.’ Person 3: ‘Once upon a time there was a girl called Sam. She liked to ride bikes. Especially Harley Davidson’s.’ etc etc.

What this demonstrates

  1. How something can change in unexpected ways when you iterate.
  2. How continually adding can slow down and break things.
  3. The challenge of communication in large groups.
  4. Cognitive load (remembering all the sentences towards the end).
  5. Writing things down (documentation) can sometimes help for complex tasks


The feedback in the session was positive, attendees felt it was a good icebreaker and a good simple introduction to complexity. If you run this too, let me know how it went in the comments.