Monthly Archives: October 2011

Activity Bingo – Make a game out of promoting cross-functional behavior

Are siloed activities hampering your Agile team’s ability deliver work within an iteration? If so, consider encouraging more cross-functional activities. But, how do we make that happen? Let’s start by making cross-functional activities visible, and making it fun. We can set it up as a Bingo game.


Create a table with each team member’s name on the left column of each row, and the activities required to deliver the iteration work at the top of each column.

Make the charts big and visible. The more aware team members are regarding how they stand, the more motivated they will be to fill in the gaps.

Now let’s play the game

During the iteration, track the types of work that each team member contributes to meeting the overall iteration goal. To track the contribution, simply put a mark at the intersection of the activity and the person’s name. At the end of the iteration, look at the pattern that has shown up on your Activity Bingo board. If you are like some new Agile teams, the grid starts out sparsely populated (a holdover from siloed organizations).

Horizontal Bingo

As team members increase the number of ways in which they contribute to the team, your team may score a horizontal BINGO.

Vertical Bingo

Similarly as more team members swarm on specific activities and you develop real depth on the team, you may score a vertical BINGO.


If you want to try to build on the game, consider seeing how early in the iteration the team can end up with either a row or a column filled up.


Be sure to recognize the team’s accomplishments toward being a more effective team.

What techniques have you used to foster cross-functional behavior?

A special thank you to Susan DiFabio, Agile Coach, for co-authoring this blog. Thanks, Maria Matarelli, for your assistance in naming the game.

p.s. Check out another article on Agile teams, tasks, and limiting WIP.