The Scaling Ball Game
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The Scaling Ball Game

experience scaling issues by playing

About the Book

Everyone and their mother talks about scaling.

Yet most have never really experienced scaling. The scaling ball game, let people experience scaling. No theory, real practising how scaling feels. And it allows you to experiment with solutions in a safe environment.

This book will also teach you how to play different version of the ballpoint game.From the original, over a one ball version to a scaled version for more than 100 people.

About the Authors


The Agile community knows Yves Hanoulle from his many contributions, such as the public Agile conferences Google calendar, his Agile Thursday Quiz, the coach retreats and conferences he’s paired to organize, daily coaching questions via @Retroflections, and the Agile Games Google group, just to name a few. He promoted PairCoaching, an idea which has been adopted by many agile trainers and coaches. He’s constantly learning, and passing on what he learns as a coach and trainer to organizations large and small.

A self-identified change artist and first follower, one of Yves’ unique qualities is that he gives free lifetime support on anything he does: every client, everything he writes and presents, every workshop he leads.

Yves believes in maintaining a sustainable pace both professionally and personally. Yves has parentpair programmed an android game with his 13 year old son You can learn more about Yves at, and find him on social media as YvesHanoulle.

Markus Wissekal
Markus Wissekal

I started working in IT in 1999. My journey to become agile began as the technical lead of a start-up in 2002. 

Skip ahead 5 years I finished my masters in medical computer sciences, 

when I became more interested in creating effective teams than software. 

Nowadays I've broadened my skills to also coach departments in an enterprise environment. 

I'm a part of agile rescue, a losely coupled network of agile experts spread throughout europe.

I love sharing my experiences - especially, but not limited to  agile topics that are dear to my heart. You probably won't have to keep that in mind, when ever you should meet me at a conference ;-)

Reader Testimonials

Peter Latten
Peter Latten

Agile Coach

Do you want to know upfront what is going to happen with your Distributed Scrum Teams? The Ball Point Game is one of the better games to play. During my last experience with Yves I was surprised that even I stepped into the old mistake; out of sight out of mind. What a simple physical whiteboard can do when you put it between two Ball point teams is amazing.

Frederik Vannieuwenhuyse
Frederik Vannieuwenhuyse

agile consultant

Who has attended a Scrum training, probably has played the ball-point game. The 'scaling' ball point game takes the same game to a higher level: You experience the pains of growing teams and working with multiple teams: trying to optimise the flow as a whole. The scaling ball-point game probably should become de facto part of a 'scaling' agile course.

Inge Gorgon
Inge Gorgon

Agile coach

The ball point game of Boris Glover has been a classic in agile trainings for a while. Yves and Markus add new dimensions to it, not only by scaling it up to different teams, but also by introducing middlemen, bugs, obstacles that simulate districbuted working, …. The result is a fun and instructive game that gives participants the opportunity to experience the problems scaling causes and time to reflect on how to get flow in such situations. A must for agile teams in large environments.

Jan De Baere
Jan De Baere

agile coach

Being through a couple of large scale initiatives I was curious to see what the game had to offer. It turns out the game visualises a lot. The situations are very recognisable and the outcome is comparable to real life scalability issues. The Scaling Ballgame is a good game to experience when you are about to start an – even limited - scaled initiative.

Table of Contents

  • Recommendations
  • Foreword
  • tl;dr
    • Description
    • Expected benefits of participating
    • What did the session creators hope to learn?
  • Trainer instructions
    • How to make your life easier
    • Tips for first time presenters
  • Ball games
    • The Ball point game
    • The One Ball Point Game
    • The Kanban Ball point game
    • The DevOps Ball point game
    • Virtual Magic Ball Game Simulation
    • How to play without Balls at hand
  • How to run the Scaling Ballgame
    • Round 1 [1 team] :
    • Round 2: [2 team’s] :
    • Round 3:
    • Round 4:
    • Group retro:
    • The Scaling Ball Game in smaller groups
    • The Scaling Ball Game in mid-sized groups
  • Things learned
  • Debriefing
    • How did it feel?
    • Questions you could use to gain more insights:
    • Questions on swapping team members:
  • Other questions
  • Observation
  • Feedback
  • Conference Submission
    • Abstract
  • Library
  • Supplies
  • Networking
  • Acknowledgments
  • About the authors
  • Game Feedback
    • Steps
    • Commitments
    • Notes
  • History
  • Countries
  • Appendix
    • More on the DevOps ball game
  • License

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