The Airplane Factory Game « Agile Way

16 de Novembro de 2009

The Airplane Factory Game

One of the best ways to introduce a new culture, methodology or processes is using a game. The reason is simple: people understand better when they practice the theory, besides only listen to it.

The Airplane Factory Game is a simple game to introduce people to Agile and SCRUM. And also, it could be easily adapted to Lean, XP, etc. This article will explain briefly the game, showing the rules, some tips and results. Also, you will be able to download it :)

The Airplane Factory was created in 2007 by me (Flavio Steffens de Castro). It was based upon some other games that I played in courses. I realize how powerful was the results of it, making me and my partners, understand all the theory behind it.

The game consist in creating a line of production of paper airplanes. In groups, people need to create a line production where the paper sheet starts in one edge, and ends in the other edge as a paper airplane. Each person need to work in the same airplane. The engineering is free. Each group decides how they will produce the planes, respecting the line production rule.

Also, working in sprints, each group need to promise a quantity of production and try to deliver that  number. At the end of each sprint, the groups are able to discuss about their processes and improve it, giving another quantity promise.

The PDCA cycle is the core of the game, as you can see.

I decided then to create my own game, simplifying and merging some of the concepts that I learned. I want to create some experiences of Agile and SCRUM I’m my work, that time. And decided that I will going to test the game with my co-workers and also leaders.

The first version of Airplane Factory was longer. I tested 10 sprints with 3 minutes long. That was awful, because we had too many sprints and people became tired. Also, I tried to introduce in every two sprints, some changes in the context (at one time, for example, we changed the civil airplanes to military airplanes). This was nice, but a little confusing also.

As a first challenge for the game, the result was great! My co-workers (and specially my boss) were very excited with the experience. Everyone asked me “where did you get the game?”. For any reason, no one believed me when I said that I created it (LOL!).

Later, I published my experience in my older blog ( – in Portuguese) where I found that people became interested in the experience. Some asked me permission to try in their own groups and companies. I started to receive some good feedbacks!

Then Rafael Prikladnicki, my friend and teacher at University, asked me to try the game in his Project Management Classes. We tried, and the results were great!

Since then, our game improved a lot. We tested some variations and changes, but always trying to maintain the core of it – the version that you can download and use :)

airplaneFactory -

Every week I receive some kind of contact about the game. People asking permission to use it in their own companies, events and courses. Most of them gave us some feedback of the experience. I did not remember any one who said that the experience was terrible or awful. Maybe if some one have a bad experience, it could be good for us to discuss and understand why. If you have a bed experience, don’t forget to tell us!

So, if you are interested on using the Airplane Factory Game, download it for free! Our main objective with this game is to make the SCRUM/Agile easier to people. The four values and the PDCA are practice and, as we know, assimilated.

All we ask is that you maintain our credits. And, of course, contact us giving your experience results!

The Powerpoint is all in english. The slides contain the information that you will show to the groups, and in the observation field – in each slide – you have a explanation and some suggestions of how to teach the game. Oh, be sure to check some slides where you need to complete with your own information (the airplane model, your name, etc).

We really hope that you enjoy and give us your feedback and, if you can, some pictures of the experience! :)

Download the Airplane Factory in PPT.

16 Comentários para “The Airplane Factory Game”

  1. In terms of materials, and the assembly-line layout, it sounds a lot like a game we just ran here in Besançon, though the point of our game was to discuss the value of focus, small deliverables, and the impact of multiple projects:

    Do you include a retrospective/feedback segment at the end of the game?

  2. Hi André. Yes, the retrospective is essencial. Is where people understand that all they did was an agile approach :)

  3. [...] by things we do. Projects we work on, conferences we go to as a whole team, … 3 Likes The Airplane Factory Game « Agile Way Agileway – Artigos, reflexões e lições aprendidas de Flávio Steffens de Castro, um gerente [...]

  4. Fred diz:

    Hi Flavio,

    I intend to use your game, could you provide me with example of scope and with some pictures of what you the Air Force propose and what your students did ?


  5. [...] creating a line of production of paper airplanes in agile iterative manner. Here are more details I’ve just tried to apply the game in our company with a group of ~12 persons divided in [...]

  6. Mario diz:

    Flavio, it’s pretty good :-)
    Thanks a lot for sharing this!

  7. flaviosteffens diz:

    Hello Mark, Im sorry to say but I didn’t know the link that you sent. The Airplane Factory was a game created by me for internal purposes and that became a mainstream in a partnership with my fellow Rafael Prikladinicki.

    The game was inspired on a game called “velocity game” where we need to pass balls in a timebox, and try to improve it. I decided to create the a version with airplanes, making it more complex than the balls.

    The first version was very different from the version that I published here, that was builded and refactored during a lot of exercises and experiences.

    It’s good to know that we have other games. Its the best way to share knowledge.

    But believe me: my game had nothing to do with the one you presented.

    Thanks for the comment.

  8. This is real Mark Levison – I would like to point out the comments above were not written by. They were written by someone who didn’t want to use their own name, instead they besmirched my reputation. I don’t think that Flavio or Rafael have stolen anything. Versions of they game they created have been invented before. So what. They created a version (on their own) and it will bring something new to the table. I look forward to discovering what it is.

    I would never stoop so low as to accuse someone of plagiarism.

    Angry in Ottawa

  9. Rafael Prikladnicki diz:

    Thanks Mark for the transparency and clarification. I think this is a real example of Agile principles and values in practice, instead of the comment made by someone that don’t want to use his own name to make his point. Angry as well, in Brazil.

  10. [...] feel like I need to take a shower. Someone just posted comments on a blog a I don’t read (yet), in my name. This person accused the blog authors of plagiarism. I would [...]

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  13. aline diz:

    muito legal seu conteudo inteligente parabens por compartilhar

  14. Tito diz:

    Thanks for the presentation. It helped me refine my presentation to a remote team.