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Scrum Sushi

Updated: Nov 24, 2020

Welcome to the fundamentals of Scrum demonstrated through a team outing to an All You Can Eat Sushi restaurant.

I consider myself a very fortunate ScrumMaster. I have a team that is enthusiastic about learning Scrum. Their enthusiasm and creativity has helped me see Scrum from many different angles and learn new applications. Today's team adventure was no exception.

The Project Outline:

The team is going to an All-You-Can-Eat Sushi buffet.

It is $20 per person for all you can eat HOWEVER, if you do not finish anything you order, you are charged double the original price for the "waste"

The Goal:

Maximize the amount of valuable sushi consumption


2 hours


We know that we only have 2 hours to eat and that we want to eat only what we can while maximizing nutritional value and enjoyment factor

  • In Scrum, the same principle applies, you should plan a sprint around what high value work you can get "Done" during the time-box

1) What is everyone's projected capacity (how much can they consume?)

  • Ann: 5 pieces of Sushi

  • Mark: 7 pieces of Sushi

  • Bob: 6 pieces of Sushi

  • Mary: 6 pieces of Sushi

  • Jon: 9 pieces of Sushi

  • Marc: 5 pieces of Sushi Total Capacity: 38 pieces of Sushi

2) How did we do the last time we ordered sushi?

We ordered 45 pieces and only ate 35 (so we were charged double for those un-eaten 10 pieces...ouch!)

  • In Scrum, you also "Pay" for unfinished work. Sometimes because it isn't prioritized for the next sprint and code goes "stale" or you aren't able to get timely feedback and end up delivering something not as valuable. Or you damage your relationship with your stakeholders because they can no longer trust in your "commitment".

3) Proposed Goal?

  • Eat enough high value sushi in order to justify the cost of $20 per person ($120)

4) What do we want to pull in to our Sushi Sprint?

  • The team reviews the Sushi Backlog (aka the menu) and discusses what is the highest value items that would hit our Goal?

  • The team then creates an order for the waiter/waitress

    • In Scrum, This would be pulling items in to create a sprint backlog for commitment

5) Planning the Sprint Backlog

  • The team then discusses how they will consume all of the high value items they have committed to in their Sushi Sprint

    • Who can share what?

    • How to divide up the rolls? How many pieces

    • Is there something they ordered that someone has never tried, do they want to give it a shot?

    • Are there any key restrictions or risks we have to take into consideration? Total Cost of items ordered = $150 (10 rolls)

6) Committing to the Sprint

  • The team is pretty hungry (they just sat through their own real sprint planning session) so they are confident they can eat everything they have ordered.

  • They have also identified some smaller items that they could add to the order and finish, once everything else is done.

  • Committed Goal: Eat enough high value sushi in order to justify the cost of $20 per person ($120) and not have anything left over.


Through out the meal, the team was constantly checking in with each other

  • "Are you going to eat that?"

  • "Are you going to finish that?"

  • "How are you doing?"

  • "I can't eat this, does someone else want it?"

  • "Anyone mind if I take the last piece?"

These conversations helped the team organize, collaborate and replan how to eat all of the sushi they ordered.

  • In Scrum, Daily Stand-up should accomplish the same thing by having the members answer the questions

    • What did you do yesterday to help the team achieve the sprint goal?

    • What are you doing today to help the team achieve the sprint goal?

    • Any blockers keeping you or the team from achieving the sprint goal?


At the end of the 2 hours, the check came and the team was able to demonstrate what they had accomplished.

Original Goal: Eat enough high value sushi in order to justify the cost of $20 per person and not have anything left over.

How did we do?

  • We ate 10 rolls at an average of $15 per piece ($150)

  • We saved $30 dollars on the All-You-Can-Eat

  • Nothing was left over

Stakeholder feedback:Saving $30 is a good start, but we would have preferred the team to have added some drinks besides water or other items not sushi-related into the sprint since those are included and would have increased the amount saved.

  • In Scrum, you want your stakeholder feedback. It helps you improve your deliverables & know what to prioritize for next Sprint Planning.


When we got back to the office we ran a Retrospective about what we can do differently next time to improve.

*Names in the real retro have been changed to protect the sushi-eating enthusiasts

Example of some healthy Sushi Retro items.

What went well?

  • Everyone got to share

  • No one snacked before we went out so everyone had plenty of room to eat

  • No one decided to order more before everything on the table was done

What could be improved?

  • If you find a bug, kill it before it ruins the value of our sushi!

  • Give ourselves a bit of a buffer for interruptions (2 hours for lunch but the metro delayed us 10 minutes)

These identified improvements will help us be more effective at the sushi outing planning and maximize our value in the outcome.

  • In Scrum, these small, actionable improvements can help us get incrementally better in our sprints so we can deliver high quality products at a sustainable pace



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