Agile Scrum Airplane Activity

Agile Scrum Airplane Activity

This group activity allows players to experience the power of iterative product development in cross-functional teams. Build paper airplanes and experience agile!


I recently took a Certified Scrum Master course with through the Scrum Alliance with the Braintrust group. I bought into the scrum framework especially after participating in this team airplane construction activity. Many other outlines of this activity exist. Iā€™m sharing the particular iteration I experienced and wholly recommend.



  1. 50 sheets of 8 1/2ā€ x 11ā€ paper per team.

  2. Whiteboard or flipchart for keeping score.


Earn as many points as possible by building and throwing paper airplanes. A team receives points by making accurate estimates of the number of planes the team will build and by building successful planes. Teams lose points for incomplete or defective planes.

Instructions for Teams

  1. Design planes, plan construction, and plan QA with your team in the planning phase.

  2. Estimate the number of successful planes your team will build during the iteration. Your team receives points equal to the number of failed planes and unfinished (work-in-progress) planes subtracted from the estimated number of successful planes. The maximum number of points your team can earn is your estimate.

  3. Build as many planes as you can in build and test phase.

  4. Planes must have wings.

  5. A plane must fly 20 feet to be successful.

  6. Discuss what went well, what could have gone better and what you will do differently in the retrospective phase.

Instructions for Activity Leader


  1. 5 minutes to explain activity and assign groups (Total time: 5 minutes)

  2. 3 minutes for teams to assemble and identify team names (Total time: 8 minutes)

  3. 30 minutes for three rounds. 3 iterations consisting of 3 minutes for design phase, 3 minutes for build and test phase, 3 minutes for retrospective and transition buffer time (Total time: 38 minutes)

  4. 7 minutes for group discussion on what they experienced and takeaways (Total time: 45 minutes)

Questions to Prompt Players

Spend at least two minutes per question discussing any or all of these questions

  1. How did your roles change throughout the process?

  2. How did your process change in each iteration? What did you improve?

  3. How is waterfall different from this?

  4. What would happen if the time box for each step was not in place?

  5. What was your quality assurance process and how did it change?


  1. Players experience iterative product development.

  2. Players experience cross-functional teams.