The Turkey Game: Agile Product Management


The Turkey Game: Agile Product Management

Learning Goals

Introduce Product Management skills, story splitting, and iterative product development in a simulation that we can all relate to–preparing a big holiday dinner. Holiday meals require lots of collaboration, planning, and problem-solving. There can be many stakeholders, rigid timing, and high standards, so getting everything to the table at the right temperature can be quite a feat! Throw in a “magic oven” and several chances to re-do the meal, and you’ll have audiences applauding one another for amazing culinary creativity in the virtual kitchen!


45-90 minutes


Blank index cards, fine-tip markers, large yellow sticky notes, and this deck.


Each slide in the deck is a prompt for what you say–it doesn’t need to be shared with the audience unless you want. Review those slides now.

Essentially, this is a game with a system constraint/bottleneck at the oven. There’s only one, and there’s only 60 virtual minutes of cooking time. People will have to get creative with recipe selection to be able to produce a rounded meal worthy of sharing with holiday guests. You’re running rounds of this game until you get several good examples of that creative negotiation. If people are getting stuck, show slide 17, “Cake Slicing for Stories” and say that in Agile, we would never cut the cake horizontally–people want icing and cake on every slice. The same must go for a whole meal–we’d rather substitute turkey for another, faster-cooking meat than have no meat at all (unless our guests are all vegan). If people are still getting stuck, go to Story Splitting Strategies on slide 19.

When it’s time to do the next round, go back to slides 10-14 (Plan the Shopping to Cook), then skip to 16.

In between each round, ask the storyteller if this would be a meal to remember. If so, encourage the audience to applaud.

Slide 17, “What Just Happened,” is the debrief. Connect the Agile Product Management activities to the game, and then ask if they’ve done any of this in their projects as illustrated on slide 21.

If anyone wants more context around ceremonies, show slides 22-23.

If anyone is taking on too much responsibility or breaks out of their role, show them slide 24, “Stay on your side of the counter!”

About Tasty Cupcakes

This content was originally published on Tasty Cupcakes, a community-run website founded by Michael McCullough and Don McGreal after they presented a series of games at Agile2008 in Toronto. The site’s tagline was “fuel for invention and learning.” After 15 years at, the content has found a new permanent home here at Agile Alliance.

The games, techniques, and approaches presented are here to use and explore. All we ask is that you tell others about us and give us some feedback on the games themselves. All of this work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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