“The house of Santa Claus" - Game

Meet Scrum through an empirical experience


The focus of a good Scrum training is to learn what is hard to learn from books. In addition to the joint development, consolidation and reflection of the content, games and simulations are important elements for experiencing new perspectives in a safe space.


Empirical experience is the heart of Scrum and is often misunderstood. Many processes and structures in organizations are still lived through defined approaches – an empirical approach is therefore often still unfamiliar and untouched. The „The house of Santa Claus“ – Scrum Game is intended to help you to understand the complexity of Scrum empirically and to be able to adapt it to your own processes later on.


In this application the core aspects of empirical process control in Scrum can be actively experienced. Based on this, it is also possible to establish the connection between the empirical approach to a problem and Scrum.

Empirical process control


Empirical means systematic learning from experience. This means that we control our work by systematically learning from experiences and making adjustments to achieve our goals.


Since industrialisation, however, our work has been characterised more by defined process control. Based on a clear understanding of the work (requirements and solution approaches), the target procedure is defined and then compared to the actual situation by means of monitoring. This defined control is fundamentally different from the empirical one.


For empirical work we do need more of the following:

  • as much transparency as possible
  • Cycles in which we can inspect end-to-end results and adapt them accordingly
  • a system as stable as possible (stable team, stable rhythm, regulated input)


The goal: to make the work more boring, so that you can concentrate on the overall complexity and optimize it step by step.

Why playing this Scrum Game?


The goal of this Scrum Game is to experience the empirical control and to trace the experience back to the characteristics of a good Scrum environment where defined approaches reach their limits.

Using the empirical environments that this simulation provides, we learn round by round and build up experiences from the stable environment around us in recurring cycles and use these experiences to optimize our work bit by bit.

Compared to Scrum Games like the Ball Point Game, this simuation can help to experience the emprirical process control in a remote setup.


Now have fun playing!

Ok... let´s start playing!

Step 1: Questions for your group reflection later


For getting in the mood and focusing on the desired learning, I will gladly share the questions in advance:


1. In which round did you had more control over your work?
(In the first or in the last round?)


2. What did you notice during the game?

What worked well?
What is it that you found so difficult?
What’s been going on within the group?
What has become clear to you about empirical process control?


3. Where in a good environment can we find the aspects we have experienced?



Step 2: What do I need per group?


Paper and pens (6 different colours) or remote (for example: a Mural-Board)


Step 3: Planning & Rules


The following rules are used in the production process:

  • Aim of the game: to draw as many „Santa Houses“ as possible in one round (Sprint)


  • Choice of groups and one scout per group:

(to ensure that the empirical approach is used effectively and not just tinkered with, the scout pays attention to the implementation of the phases and the set time boxes and can also take on moderation tasks if the team asks him/her)


  • distributes the 6 colours evenly, so that each team member has 1 to 2 colours

(each color is only assigned to one person)


  • you may only continue to draw where you have stopped

(after one stroke the colour must be changed;
in one house the lines of the same colour must not touch each other and
no copy paste allowed)

  • Step 4: Procedure of a round (Sprint)


  • 90 seconds of preparation – How do we as a team proceed concretely in the next round?


    90 seconds implementation – Goal: to produce as many houses as possible together (while respecting the rules)


  • Evaluation of the results – How many completed houses were produced?


  • 90 seconds of reflection – Where are the biggest areas for improvement?


  • Attention:  focus on solutions without the identification of the biggest problem & improvement areas


  • at least 4 rounds – so that we can create and learn stability from a certain experience and routine within the group


  • from round 2: we ask for an estimate in advance to practice self-reflection on what the team can really produce in the end



Have fun with this Scrum Game and stay agile 😉

Do you need help or have any questions left?

Don´t hesitate to contact us if you need any support from our side or call us: +49 40 22 86 1972.


We are happy to help!

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