Pass the pennies - Lean game simulation

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This is another game that I have had great fun playing and also thought me an my clients a great deal. I use it as staple for all my intros to Lean and agile.

The goal of the game is to move 20 coins through a series of process step (aka players). Each player flips the coins once before it can be passed over.

The game shows very effectively how limiting the work in process (WIP) increases the throughput and improves lead times, both for the first coin and the total time for all 20 coins.

If you move through the game slides quickly a nice little animation effect takes place. Watching that actually gave me a new understanding of what Flow means. Compare the first and last iterations and see the coins flow through the process, each step creating value.

If you like this presentation you will find more like this in Kanban In Action (http://bit.ly/theKanbanBook) where we have dedicated a whole chapter on agile games.

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  • Excellent simulation! Very clear and super helpful :-) Thank you very much!
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  • Just following up on this last comment, I'm not sure if I follow how you can just change the rules for the last round because it essentially would double the time if you accounted for the "pass" time. Maybe for this game people begin to blur the flip and pass steps, but how can I justify this blurring in terms of an actual assembly flow? This game would be perfect if all things were equal but clearly they are not at the end. Please let me know if I am thinking about this incorrectly.
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  • @LeanRolyan Hi, you are probably right... For the sake of the simulation I should have added that extra 'tick'.

    But I've also found that people, in the last stage, start to do this in one single continuous movement per coin. That's probably why I forgot to add it.

    I'm not saying it was fully on purpose, your comment is very much valid, but now that I think about that's usually what happens.

    Great point - thank you.
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  • On the last run (single penny) aren't you missing the time taken to move each coin across? It shows a coin moving around in 1 tick intervals, but surely it should be 2. Turn over, 1 tick, pass, 2 tick, turn over , 3 tick, pass, 4 tick. This would make the total time taken with single piece flow to be a lot longer than the time shown. Or am I missing something?
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Pass the pennies - Lean game simulation

  1. 1. Pass the pennies A simulation of a simulation showing How to achive more, by doing less Marcus Hammarberg @marcusoftnet, The Salvation Army Indonesia
  2. 2. What is needed • 4 players • (4 supervisors, can be done by the players, must have clocks) • 20 coins • A table & 4 chairs • A whiteboard or flipchart to note results on (and a pen)
  3. 3. How to run • The goal is to move all the coins through all the players (the whole process) • Each player does his work by flipping each coin over • We time • The time each player works • Start when flipping the first coin • Stop after flipping the last coin • The time it takes for the first coin to come out of the process • The total time it takes for all the coins to goes through the process
  4. 4. Our players, in the simulation • I’ve introduced some variations to keep it interesting • Beth will use one hand and make no mistakes • Cesar will use one hand and drop 1 coin per iteration • Daphne will use two hands and make no mistakes • Adam will use one hand and make no mistakes
  5. 5. A word about timing • There’s an artificial clock ticking in the left corner during the game • It ticks one tick per transition • These are my made up times for the tasks • Flip of a coin takes 1 • Move the coins to the next person take 1 • Dropping a coin takes 3 • To see clearly who’s working (as in “time ticking”) I’ve added a green square around the active players “Clock”: 00:05
  6. 6. Iteration 1 20 coin batches
  7. 7. “Clock”: 00:00
  8. 8. “Clock”: 00:01
  9. 9. “Clock”: 00:02
  10. 10. “Clock”: 00:03
  11. 11. “Clock”: 00:04
  12. 12. “Clock”: 00:05
  13. 13. “Clock”: 00:06
  14. 14. “Clock”: 00:07
  15. 15. “Clock”: 00:08
  16. 16. “Clock”: 00:09
  17. 17. “Clock”: 00:10
  18. 18. “Clock”: 00:11
  19. 19. “Clock”: 00:12
  20. 20. “Clock”: 00:13
  21. 21. “Clock”: 00:14
  22. 22. “Clock”: 00:15
  23. 23. “Clock”: 00:16
  24. 24. “Clock”: 00:17
  25. 25. “Clock”: 00:18
  26. 26. “Clock”: 00:19
  27. 27. “Clock”: 00:20
  28. 28. “Clock”: 00:21 Beth: 00:21
  29. 29. “Clock”: 00:22 Beth: 00:21
  30. 30. “Clock”: 00:23 Beth: 00:21
  31. 31. “Clock”: 00:24 Beth: 00:21
  32. 32. “Clock”: 00:25 Beth: 00:21
  33. 33. “Clock”: 00:26 Beth: 00:21
  34. 34. “Clock”: 00:27 Beth: 00:21
  35. 35. “Clock”: 00:28 Beth: 00:21
  36. 36. “Clock”: 00:29 Beth: 00:21
  37. 37. “Clock”: 00:30 Beth: 00:21
  38. 38. “Clock”: 00:31 Beth: 00:21
  39. 39. “Clock”: 00:32 Beth: 00:21
  40. 40. “Clock”: 00:33 Beth: 00:21
  41. 41. “Clock”: 00:34 Beth: 00:21
  42. 42. “Clock”: 00:35 Beth: 00:21
  43. 43. “Clock”: 00:36 Beth: 00:21
  44. 44. “Clock”: 00:37 Beth: 00:21
  45. 45. “Clock”: 00:38 Beth: 00:21
  46. 46. “Clock”: 00:39 Beth: 00:21
  47. 47. “Clock”: 00:40 Beth: 00:21
  48. 48. “Clock”: 00:41 Beth: 00:21
  49. 49. “Clock”: 00:42 Beth: 00:21
  50. 50. “Clock”: 00:43 Beth: 00:21
  51. 51. “Clock”: 00:44 Beth: 00:21
  52. 52. “Clock”: 00:45 Beth: 00:21
  53. 53. “Clock”: 00:46 Beth: 00:21 Cesar: 00:24
  54. 54. “Clock”: 00:47 Beth: 00:21 Cesar: 00:24
  55. 55. “Clock”: 00:48 Beth: 00:21 Cesar: 00:24
  56. 56. “Clock”: 00:49 Beth: 00:21 Cesar: 00:23
  57. 57. “Clock”: 00:50 Beth: 00:21 Cesar: 00:24
  58. 58. “Clock”: 00:51 Beth: 00:21 Cesar: 00:24
  59. 59. “Clock”: 00:52 Beth: 00:21 Cesar: 00:24
  60. 60. “Clock”: 00:53 Beth: 00:21 Cesar: 00:24
  61. 61. “Clock”: 00:54 Beth: 00:21 Cesar: 00:24
  62. 62. “Clock”: 00:55 Beth: 00:21 Cesar: 00:24
  63. 63. “Clock”: 00:56 Beth: 00:21 Cesar: 00:24
  64. 64. “Clock”: 00:57 Beth: 00:21 Cesar: 00:24
  65. 65. “Clock”: 00:58 Beth: 00:21 Cesar: 00:24 Daphne: 00:11
  66. 66. “Clock”: 00:59 Beth: 00:21 Cesar: 00:24 Daphne: 00:11
  67. 67. “Clock”: 01:00 Beth: 00:21 Cesar: 00:24 Daphne: 00:11
  68. 68. “Clock”: 01:01 Beth: 00:21 Cesar: 00:24 Daphne: 00:11
  69. 69. “Clock”: 01:02 Beth: 00:21 Cesar: 00:24 Daphne: 00:11
  70. 70. “Clock”: 01:03 Beth: 00:21 Cesar: 00:24 Daphne: 00:11
  71. 71. “Clock”: 01:04 Beth: 00:21 Cesar: 00:24 Daphne: 00:11
  72. 72. “Clock”: 01:05 Beth: 00:21 Cesar: 00:24 Daphne: 00:11
  73. 73. “Clock”: 01:06 Beth: 00:21 Cesar: 00:24 Daphne: 00:11
  74. 74. “Clock”: 01:07 Beth: 00:21 Cesar: 00:24 Daphne: 00:11
  75. 75. “Clock”: 01:08 Beth: 00:21 Cesar: 00:24 Daphne: 00:11
  76. 76. “Clock”: 01:09 Beth: 00:21 Cesar: 00:24 Daphne: 00:11
  77. 77. “Clock”: 01:10 Beth: 00:21 Cesar: 00:24 Daphne: 00:11
  78. 78. “Clock”: 01:11 Beth: 00:21 Cesar: 00:24 Daphne: 00:11
  79. 79. “Clock”: 01:12 Beth: 00:21 Cesar: 00:24 Daphne: 00:11
  80. 80. “Clock”: 01:13 Beth: 00:21 Cesar: 00:24 Daphne: 00:11
  81. 81. “Clock”: 01:14 Beth: 00:21 Cesar: 00:24 Daphne: 00:11
  82. 82. “Clock”: 01:15 Beth: 00:21 Cesar: 00:24 Daphne: 00:11
  83. 83. “Clock”: 01:16 Beth: 00:21 Cesar: 00:24 Daphne: 00:11
  84. 84. “Clock”: 01:17 Beth: 00:21 Cesar: 00:24 Daphne: 00:11
  85. 85. “Clock”: 01:18 Beth: 00:21 Cesar: 00:24 Daphne: 00:11
  86. 86. “Clock”: 01:18 Beth: 00:21 Cesar: 00:24 Daphne: 00:11 Adam: 00:20 First done: 01:18 All done: 01:18
  87. 87. Results Name 20 coin batch Beth 00:21 Cesar 00:24 Daphne 00:11 Adam 00:20 Time to first 01:18 Time for all 01:18
  88. 88. Notice • Only one person active at the time • The others are waiting with nothing to do • Daphne, working with two hands, is A LOT faster than the others • Cesar dropping one coin, slowed down the progress for the entire chain • Daphne had to wait her turn • The first coin was finished at the same time as the last
  89. 89. Let’s try that again! Same rules and behavior as before. But this time with 5 coin batches That’s; flip 5 coins and then pass them over
  90. 90. “Clock”: 00:00
  91. 91. “Clock”: 00:01
  92. 92. “Clock”: 00:02
  93. 93. “Clock”: 00:03
  94. 94. “Clock”: 00:04
  95. 95. “Clock”: 00:05
  96. 96. “Clock”: 00:06
  97. 97. “Clock”: 00:07
  98. 98. “Clock”: 00:08
  99. 99. “Clock”: 00:09
  100. 100. “Clock”: 00:10
  101. 101. “Clock”: 00:11
  102. 102. “Clock”: 00:12
  103. 103. “Clock”: 00:13
  104. 104. “Clock”: 00:14
  105. 105. “Clock”: 00:15
  106. 106. “Clock”: 00:16
  107. 107. “Clock”: 00:17
  108. 108. “Clock”: 00:18
  109. 109. “Clock”: 00:19
  110. 110. “Clock”: 00:20
  111. 111. “Clock”: 00:21
  112. 112. “Clock”: 00:22
  113. 113. “Clock”: 00:23 First done: 00:23
  114. 114. “Clock”: 00:24 First done: 00:23
  115. 115. “Clock”: 00:25 First done: 00:23
  116. 116. “Clock”: 00:26 Beth: 00:26 First done: 00:23
  117. 117. “Clock”: 00:27 Beth: 00:26 First done: 00:23
  118. 118. “Clock”: 00:28 Beth: 00:26 First done: 00:23
  119. 119. “Clock”: 00:29 Beth: 00:26 First done: 00:23
  120. 120. “Clock”: 00:30 Beth: 00:26 First done: 00:23
  121. 121. “Clock”: 00:31 Beth: 00:26 First done: 00:23
  122. 122. “Clock”: 00:32 Beth: 00:26 First done: 00:23
  123. 123. “Clock”: 00:33 Beth: 00:26 First done: 00:23
  124. 124. “Clock”: 00:34 Beth: 00:26 First done: 00:23
  125. 125. “Clock”: 00:35 Beth: 00:26 First done: 00:23
  126. 126. “Clock”: 00:36 Beth: 00:26 First done: 00:23
  127. 127. “Clock”: 00:37 Beth: 00:26 First done: 00:23 Cesar: 00:30
  128. 128. “Clock”: 00:38 Beth: 00:26 First done: 00:23 Cesar: 00:30
  129. 129. “Clock”: 00:39 Beth: 00:26 First done: 00:23 Cesar: 00:30
  130. 130. “Clock”: 00:40 Beth: 00:26 First done: 00:23 Cesar: 00:30
  131. 131. “Clock”: 00:41 Beth: 00:26 First done: 00:23 Cesar: 00:30
  132. 132. “Clock”: 00:42 Beth: 00:26 First done: 00:23 Cesar: 00:30 Daphne: 00:29
  133. 133. “Clock”: 00:42 Beth: 00:26 First done: 00:23 Cesar: 00:30 Daphne: 00:29
  134. 134. “Clock”: 00:43 Beth: 00:26 First done: 00:23 Cesar: 00:30 Daphne: 00:29
  135. 135. “Clock”: 00:44 Beth: 00:26 First done: 00:23 Cesar: 00:30 Daphne: 00:29
  136. 136. “Clock”: 00:45 Beth: 00:26 First done: 00:23 Cesar: 00:30 Daphne: 00:29
  137. 137. “Clock”: 00:46 Beth: 00:26 First done: 00:23 Cesar: 00:30 Daphne: 00:29
  138. 138. “Clock”: 00:47 Beth: 00:26 First done: 00:23 Cesar: 00:30 Daphne: 00:29 Adam: 00:29 All done: 00:47
  139. 139. Results Name 20 coin batch 5 coin batch Beth 00:21 00:26 Cesar 00:24 00:30 Daphne 00:11 00:29 Adam 00:20 00:29 Time to first 01:18 00:23 Time for all 01:18 00:47
  140. 140. Notice • Many people active at the same time • Daphne, working with two hands, doesn’t help her much • Cesar dropping one coin, slowed down the progress for the entire chain • Daphne times were MUCH worse, because she waited for Cesar • Even Adam, last in line, was affected • The last coin came in 31 ticks earlier • The first coin came in MUCH earlier (55 ticks)
  141. 141. Let’s try that again! Same rules and behavior as before. But this time with 1 coin batches That’s; flip 1 coins and then pass it over
  142. 142. “Clock”: 00:00
  143. 143. “Clock”: 00:01
  144. 144. “Clock”: 00:02
  145. 145. “Clock”: 00:03
  146. 146. “Clock”: 00:04 First done: 00:04
  147. 147. “Clock”: 00:05 First done: 00:04
  148. 148. “Clock”: 00:06 First done: 00:04
  149. 149. “Clock”: 00:07 First done: 00:04
  150. 150. “Clock”: 00:08 First done: 00:04
  151. 151. “Clock”: 00:09 First done: 00:04
  152. 152. “Clock”: 00:10 First done: 00:04
  153. 153. “Clock”: 00:11 First done: 00:04
  154. 154. “Clock”: 00:12 First done: 00:04
  155. 155. “Clock”: 00:13 First done: 00:04
  156. 156. “Clock”: 00:14 First done: 00:04
  157. 157. “Clock”: 00:15 First done: 00:04
  158. 158. “Clock”: 00:16 First done: 00:04
  159. 159. “Clock”: 00:17 First done: 00:04
  160. 160. “Clock”: 00:18 First done: 00:04
  161. 161. “Clock”: 00:19 First done: 00:04
  162. 162. “Clock”: 00:20 First done: 00:04
  163. 163. “Clock”: 00:21 First done: 00:04 Beth: 00:21
  164. 164. “Clock”: 00:22 First done: 00:04 Beth: 00:21
  165. 165. “Clock”: 00:23 First done: 00:04 Beth: 00:21
  166. 166. “Clock”: 00:24 First done: 00:04 Beth: 00:21 Cesar: 00:23
  167. 167. “Clock”: 00:25 First done: 00:04 Beth: 00:21 Cesar: 00:23 Daphne: 00:23
  168. 168. “Clock”: 00:26 First done: 00:04 Beth: 00:21 Cesar: 00:23 Daphne: 00:23 First done: 00:04 00:23 All done: 00:26 Adam:
  169. 169. Results Name 20 coin batch 5 coin batch 1 coin batch Beth 00:21 00:26 00:21 Cesar 00:24 00:30 00:23 Daphne 00:11 00:29 00:23 Adam 00:20 00:29 00:23 Time to first 01:18 00:23 00:04 Time for all 01:18 00:47 00:26
  170. 170. Notice • At 61% of all states EVERYONE was active, adding value, moving the coins forward • Daphne, working with two hands, doesn’t help her much this time either • Cesar dropping one coin, slowed down the progress for the entire chain • But it recovered faster and soon everyone was turning coins again • The last coin came in 52 ticks earlier than the first round • The first coin came in MUCH earlier (74 ticks)
  171. 171. Comments • Overall time goes down by doing fewer things at the same time • Time to first goes WAY down • When played with humans individual times goes up • Still not sure why this doesn’t happen here… • My simulation is probably making simplifications • In first round there was a lot of waiting • Every person waited ¾ of the total time • In last round everyone was working all the time • Every person was waiting 3-5 ticks
  172. 172. More comments • What’s different? • Same workers, coins, process and table • Only difference is number of coins per batch • Work in Process – WIP is lower • Number of slides (aka steps in the process) • 20 coin iteration: 79 slides • 5 coin iteration: 48 slides • 1 coin iteration: 26 slides
  173. 173. Thank you Marcus Hammarberg @marcusoftnet marcusoftnet@gmail.com http://bit.ly/theKanbanBook

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