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 🙂
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).
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.
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.
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.
55 responses on “Agile Topics card deck”
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?
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.
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 🙂
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)
Very nice concept. I just downloaded Nov 6 deck. Thanks!
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.
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?
Intended it to be Close Active Leadership. But you got me curious. What do you mean with Co-Active Leadership?
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?
Thanks Tom 🙂 Happy to hear you like them!
Could you elaborate on what you mean with Co-Active Leadership? Not sure I understand…
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!
Thanks Richard! Happy to hear you liked them 🙂 And thanks for spotting the “Grooming” card. Will change that to next version.
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…
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 🙂
how come I did not know this?
Looking forward to hand out decks like these, when will we print? 🙂
Had not planned to print them, until now 🙂 Let’s talk more about it!
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.
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 🙂
These are super cool – I can’t believe I haven’t come across them sooner. Thanks for making them available Jimmy!
I cannot believe you draw this many of cards. Amazing!
Thanks 🙂 I love drawing, and this project gave me a good excuse to do more of it.
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.
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!
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.
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)
Thank you Mo for your great feedback!
I’m definitely going to add cards for a couple of your suggestions! Also changing Backlog Grooming to Backlog Refinement.
Thanks so much for generously continuing to expand this.
Our organization is almost entirely remote, and lives and breathes in Slack. I’d like to randomly draw a card and display it in Slack in response to anyone saying a key phrase. To do this I’d need the images on the face of each card to be separate images. Before I try to figure out some way of extracting them from the PDF, is there an easy way for you to supply that from your source data?
Happy to hear you like the Agile Topic cards 🙂
I do of course have the original illustrations as separate files, but I don’t feel comfortable sharing those.
But if you do figure out a way to capture them from the pdf, feel free to use them in your slack the way you described. Sounds like fun 🙂
Thanks a lot for sharing all these cards. Great job creating them you Master of Viz!! 🙂
#86 (Forecasts & Velocity): Shouldn’t the visualization of what we can deliver, might deliver and don’t believe we can deliver be the other way around? Now it looks like we can deliver stuff at the bottom of the PBL.
* Scaling agile
* Building shared understanding
* Sphere of influence
* Force Field Analysis
* Cultural Evolution (Amber->Orange->Green->Teal)
Happy to hear you like the cards 🙂
And yes! You are totally right on card #86. Can’t understand how I ended up drawing it that way. Thanks for spotting it! Will update illustration in next update.
And also, thank you for your suggestions! I will probably include some of them (if not all) in future updates 🙂
Great deck of Agile Topics cards! Curious….
1) Why do you include the Scrum Master, but not the Product Owner?
2) Why the “Team”, but not specify Development Team and/or the Scrum Team?
3) Why not Sprint Review instead of Demo (the demo is just one element of a review)?
thanks for the great resource!
Happy to hear you enjoy the deck 🙂
1) Don’t know. It’s on my todo-list but haven’t found time and inspiration lately to add more cards.
2) Yet again, don’t really know. Development Team and/or the Scrum Team is kind of specific to Scrum, while team is a more general term. Might add cards for those as well later.
3) Good question. But if I add Sprint Review I should probably add Sprint Planning as well. Perhaps I should add both.
Although I’ve drawn 168 cards there are obviously many more still to draw 🙂
Thank you for very interesting idea! I’ll use it in for company where I’m working with some changes ))
Thank you for sharing it!
Tremendous amount of techniques, knowledge and skills to master and work in the best Lean/Agile environment!!
I used them for retro, lean coffee and plan to run a team maturity assessment with. Awesome work for get inspired! 🙂
Nice cards! Gives a lot of ideas for improvement.
Just a question about #121: I guess the graph labels are wrong?
The idea is to start making decisions only when effort to gain knowledge falls, so it’s the opposite in my opinion. Or do I interpret it wrong?
Well, yes you are totally right. However, the illustration depicts how it usually works in plan driven waterfall projects.
Can I turn your cards into t-shirts?
Hi Paulo 🙂 If you want to create a t-shirt for yourself, that’s perfectly fine. However, if you would like to print and sell them, that’s a no for now. I might want to do that myself in the future.
Do you consider to publish these under an open source / creative commons license?
I just used them in a workshop with product managers and would love to add more product management related terms within the same font/style
Consider the cards “Creative Commons: Attribution + ShareAlike”. As long as it’s non-profit and you give due credit, feel free to use them 🙂
Thank you very much for these cards! I cannot find the explanation of one of them : “Campfire stories”. Could you explain what is this about?
Hi. Thank you so much for these cards !
We use them for our Lean coffee 🙂
Can you explain the “Volatile documentation” card ?
I didn’t find anything about it…
Thank you 🙂 Happy to hear you like them and use them.
Volatile Documentation for me is documentation that quickly looses it’s value, such as requirements specs, long-term detail plans, estimations, etc. They rarely survive contact with reality.
Love these cards, just came across them – i’m going to print, laminate, cut and use! Thanks for them, not sure how I’ve only just came across them. Also love your new visualisation book too.
Just a quick one that I spotted #130 – I’m sure it’s ‘Johari Window’ not ‘Juhari Window’.
Thank you Scott 🙂 And thank you for spotting my misspelling!
How have I not seen these before? They look great and cannot wait to use them in conversations and activities.
As I skimmed through them, I noticed #130 has a typo. The model is “Johari” window, not Juhari.
Thank you Paul! I will fix the typo for future updates.
Great job !. Thanks a lot for sharing all these cards.
I will love to use them in some remote activity using tools such as mural.co or miro.com
I like these cards very much.
I am an agile coach. I want to use these cards to my team. R
Recently, I am building Agile KM in the organization. I also want to use these tool cards for related content. I don’t know if it can be used?
I apologize for the slow approval of your comment and thus my slow reply.
You are most welcome to use the cards as long as you give me due credit and state where they come from 🙂