Scrum from Hell revisited.

Today was a flashback kind of day.  I was part of a Scrum Master training day and one of the games the group played was “Scrum from Hell”.  It took me back to 2009 when I wrote one of my first Blog Posts about a game I played with one of my teams.  The blog post remains fresh with me as it is still one of the most viewed posts I have written as it still gets a lot of hits per month, even when my site hasn’t been updated as often as I would like.

Playing the game again was awesome and as I have gained more experience since I wrote the original post I looked on it from a different perspective.  Originally when I played the game I was trying to highlight to our team how disruptive one aspect of our teams behaviour was.  We had a few people in the team who loved to talk and would take the meeting off on tangents and no matter how many times the team brought it up at Retrospectives, the usual suspects still persisted.  We put them into the hot seat as Scrum Master and mimicked their behaviour.  They found it frustrating and could see things from the teams point of view and changed their ways.

Today, I saw the game as a great fun tool for highlighting how hard facilitation can be for a new Scrum Master to a new team.  In the beginning the daily standup can see people act in different ways when they come together as a group.  Some of these behaviours can be detrimental to the harmony of a team so it is a great way to highlight these bad behaviours to a team and give them experience of how hard it can be to not only facilitate a standup but any ceremony.


  • Split off into groups of 5 or 6.
  • Select 1 person in each team as Scrum Master and ask them to leave the room
  • Explain to the Scrum Masters that they will be running a Daily Standup.
    • Ask them to explain the format of the Daily Standup to the team.
    • Explain the 3 standard questions.
  • With the Scrum Masters still out of the room explain the rules of the game to the teams.
    • Ask the group to shout out some bad behaviours they have experienced in a meeting (Looking at mobile phones, arriving late, side conversations, talking over people were just a few we used).
  • Allow the Scrum Master to facilitate the meeting for 3-5 minutes.
    • When the Scrum Master starts the meeting the teams should act out the bad behaviour that they have chosen.
    • If the Scrum Master notices the behaviour they should call it out (promoting holding each other to account).
  • Ask the Scrum Masters to reflect on how they felt and what they learned whilst playing the game.

Feel free to check out my Original Post for more ideas on this game.

Big thanks to the team for refreshing me on this.



Published by The Daily Scrum

A CSP, CSM, CSPO who lives and works in Glasgow, UK.

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