Agile Topics card deck

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The other week I got the idea to create simple conversation cards. Each card represents an agile practice, a conversation topic or an abstract theory. Now I’ve drawn 96 cards. I simply couldn’t stop 🙂

Cards

When I started I didn’t really know when or how I wanted to use them. But while drawing them, and while showing them to others, a couple of ideas popped up. The last couple of weeks I’ve found great use of them in several different situations. Here are some examples of how they could be used…

  • Topics for lean coffee – Shuffle the deck. Give each person 3 cards of which they choose one. Dot vote. Run lean coffee with those topics.
  • 1:1 Conversation starters – Before the 1:1, draw five cards each. Each person selects two. Discuss these topics during the next 1:1.
  • Organizational Review – Pre-select 30 cards. For each card, grade how knowledgeable you are about the topic (y-axis), and if you are doing it “right”, “wrong” or not at all (y-axis). Then discuss what to you wish to improve.
  • Lunch’n’Learn – Draw five cards. Someone volunteers do a short lunch seminar on one of the topics for the following week. Repeat.

The cards come in three different flavours:

  • Practices, techniques and tools – Green
  • Topics for discussions – Blue
  • Abstract models and theories – Red

There are a lot of overlaps between the colors, but that is unavoidable I guess. Whether you care about the colors or not, is totally up to you depending on how you want to use the cards.

As I already mention, there are 96 topic cards (when this blog was written). The deck also contains a couple of suggestions on how to use them for discussions or in retrospectives (blue cards), and a couple of self-reflective questions (beige cards).

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Would you like your own deck? Easy!

Start with downloading the pdf HERE.
You might need this FONT and this FONT for the cards to look like the image above.

Then,

How to

 

Please let me know in the comments below if you ended up using the Agile Topics cards, and how you used them.

As I draw more cards, I will update the pdf.

Have fun!

Update: 2015-10-12, Added 6 more cards. Total 102 topics.
Update: 2015-10-17, Added 6 more cards. Total 108 topics.
Update: 2015-10-22, Added 6 more cards. Total 114 topics.
Update: 2015-10-26, Added 6 more cards. Total 120 topics.
Update: 2015-11-06, Added 6 more cards. Total 126 topics.
Update: 2015-11-24, Added 6 more cards. Total 132 topics.
Update: 2016-01-02, Added 6 more cards. Total 138 topics.
Update: 2016-01-18, Added 6 more cards. Total 144 topics.
Update: 2016-02-11, Added 6 more cards. Total 150 topics.
Update: 2016-02-16, Fixed spelling error. Added card numbers.
Update: 2016-03-22, Added 6 more cards. Total 156 topics.
Update: 2016-12-03, Added 12 more cards. Total 168 topics.

30 Comments

  • 1
    2015-10-08 - 21:25 | Permalink

    Will be sharing with my students (undergrads in an agile development course). I tried doing one of these a year ago, but got lost trying to decide what merited a card and what didn’t.

    But already in the early part of the pack I hit something I didn’t recognize and web-search didn’t help: what practice is “way of working” referring to?

    • 2
      2015-10-09 - 09:16 | Permalink

      Hi Chris! “Way of working” is a general term that roughly means: The sum of policies, rules and routines we as a team have agreed upon. Could include Definition of Done, Working Agreement, how we conduct our daily meetings, how we define our roles, etc.

  • 3
    Mike Hodgkinson
    2015-10-16 - 15:25 | Permalink

    Love these! I’ll be using them to help promote agile discussions within our team, increasing familiarisation with terms and concepts, improving understanding and all while still keeping the subject fresh 🙂

  • 4
    Stefan Johnson
    2015-10-26 - 16:01 | Permalink

    Very nice cards and it feels like they can be very helpful in many situations. Continuous delivery and continuous deployment need to switch pictures (downloaded 22/10)

  • 5
    Shyamala Grover
    2015-11-17 - 20:29 | Permalink

    Very nice concept. I just downloaded Nov 6 deck. Thanks!

  • 6
    2015-11-23 - 20:43 | Permalink

    Thanks to Jimmy Janlén for letting me use his pictures from Agile Topics Cards.

  • 7
    2015-12-07 - 23:51 | Permalink

    […] Thanks to Jimmy Janlén for letting me use his pictures from Agile Topics Cards. […]

  • 8
    2015-12-08 - 23:26 | Permalink

    […] Thanks to Jimmy Janlén for letting me use his pictures from Agile Topics Cards. […]

  • 9
    2015-12-11 - 12:33 | Permalink

    Hi,

    I just came across this blog post. I haven’t used your cards. However I came up with a similar idea and printed my own cards for the Agile Coach Camp Austria 2015. I used the cards to play the “Agile” Activity Board game where you have to draw, speak and do pantomime with the given topic.

    I really like your cards and I think in future I will use yours to play it again.

  • 10
    2015-12-14 - 23:08 | Permalink

    […] Thanks to Jimmy Janlén for letting me use his pictures from Agile Topics Cards. […]

  • 11
    Tom Suter
    2016-03-04 - 14:44 | Permalink

    Hi Jimmy, I really love the cards! Keep them coming. Some terms are completely new, but give good information after googling them. 🙂

    One question, shouldn’t card #81 be Co-Active Leadership instead of Close-Active Leadership?

    • 12
      2016-03-06 - 05:08 | Permalink

      Intended it to be Close Active Leadership. But you got me curious. What do you mean with Co-Active Leadership?

  • 13
    Tom Suter
    2016-03-04 - 14:46 | Permalink

    Hi Jimmy,
    I really love the cards! Keep them coming.
    Some terms are completely new, but give good information after googling them. 🙂

    Shouldn’t card #81 be Co-Active Leadership instead of Close-Active Leadership?

    • 14
      2016-03-22 - 03:47 | Permalink

      Thanks Tom 🙂 Happy to hear you like them!

      Could you elaborate on what you mean with Co-Active Leadership? Not sure I understand…

  • 15
    2016-03-23 - 15:51 | Permalink

    Hi Jimmy,

    Really nice set you created. I am definitely going to use it for my work. Maybe use it on the upcoming Agile Coach Camp in the Netherlands in April. Small remark from my side, you still use the word grooming instead of refining on card 100.

    Anyway, thank you for sharing this with us!

    Kind regards,
    Richard.

    • 16
      2016-03-28 - 21:11 | Permalink

      Thanks Richard! Happy to hear you liked them 🙂 And thanks for spotting the “Grooming” card. Will change that to next version.
      /Jimmy

  • 17
    2016-03-24 - 09:21 | Permalink

    Hi Jimmy,

    I can’t tell how helpful these cards are – thank you for the opportunity 🙂
    I put them in the team room and from time to time colleagues curiously draw a card to see what term might be revealed and if it is unknown to them they’re asking.
    On the other hand I used them twice for a retrospective to discuss some topics I thought it is good for the team to keep in mind. Worked wonderful.

    I was wondering if you like getting some suggestions for other topics which are not contained yet. For instace “Kano Model”, “Stacey Matrix, “Safe-Fail-Experiments”, etc…

    Regards
    Joshua

    • 18
      2016-03-28 - 21:13 | Permalink

      Hi Joshua! Always inspiring to hear how other coaches use the cards. And thank you for you topic suggestions! Will add them to my todo-list 🙂
      Cheers/Jimmy

  • 19
    2016-05-05 - 12:05 | Permalink

    how come I did not know this?

  • 20
    2016-05-08 - 15:05 | Permalink

    Looking forward to hand out decks like these, when will we print? 🙂

  • 22
    2016-05-30 - 14:50 | Permalink

    I love many of these. I can see them used in a variety of ways to facilitate a fruitful conversation.

    It could be nice if they had a little more explanation added to them. Some are kind of self-explanatory, but others are harder for the not fully trained jedi…I mean agile scrum coach 🙂

    Remember some of us are but padavans on this journey. And in stead of using time discussing what a thing means, it would be great to be able to discuss what it means in our specific context.

    • 23
      2016-06-04 - 16:44 | Permalink

      Happy to hear you like the cards Thomas 🙂 I’ve been thinking about how to add more details to the cards, but then again I like that they are very simple. Sometimes they trigger an emotional reaction, sometimes a great discussion, and sometimes enough curiosity to google the topic. But I might spend some time creating a website that provides a brief explanation of each topic. Maybe… but that would involve quite some work 🙂

  • 24
    Ellen
    2016-08-18 - 14:18 | Permalink

    These are super cool – I can’t believe I haven’t come across them sooner. Thanks for making them available Jimmy!

  • 25
    2016-10-20 - 02:02 | Permalink

    I cannot believe you draw this many of cards. Amazing!

    • 26
      2016-10-20 - 11:07 | Permalink

      Thanks 🙂 I love drawing, and this project gave me a good excuse to do more of it.

  • 27
    Tom Calverley
    2016-11-21 - 11:18 | Permalink

    Are the cards for Continuous Delivery and Continuous Deployment the wrong way around? I have always thought we continually deliver into a staging environment and then manually deploy to production. When the deployment to production is automated this is then termed continuous deployment.

    • 28
      2016-11-21 - 18:28 | Permalink

      Hi Tom! Yes, you are totally right. Don’t know why I got these two switched, nor why you were the first one to catch my mistake. Will update and upload new version. Thank you so much!

  • 29
    Savvy
    2017-01-03 - 21:25 | Permalink

    JImmy, thanks a lot for the cards. It’s a 360 degree full of topics. I haven’t used them yet but have to find a way to use them in near future.

  • 30
    Mo Li
    2017-04-06 - 18:43 | Permalink

    hi Jimmy

    These cards are great. I so love them. I use them after our standups every day for a lightening talk. I have noticed a few changes or additions I would love to suggest for the next version:

    1. Change #100: backlog grooming -> Backlog refinement
    2. Add: Ruthless Prioritization (see https://medium.com/startup-grind/ruthless-prioritization-e4256e3520a9)
    3. Change #123: Add “e.g.” before Scrum of Scrums: (see https://www.agiletrainings.eu/2016/09/27/scrum-of-scrums-is-dead-emerging-coordination-practices-at-scale/)
    4. Add: Nexus Integration Team (see https://www.scrum.org/resources/nexus-integration-team)
    5. Add: TDD – Test Driven Development
    6. Add: Cycle Time (http://theleanthinker.com/2010/04/28/takt-time-cycle-time/)
    7. Add: Takt Time (http://itsadeliverything.com/lead-time-versus-cycle-time-untangling-the-confusion)
    8. Add: Little’s Law
    9. Add: Convey’s Law
    10. Add: Dev Huddles (https://vinodkumaar.wordpress.com/2015/08/08/dev-huddles-the-andon-cord-of-software-development/)
    11. Cumulative Flow Diagram (or Burnup Diagram)

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