The Business Value Game

Organizers: Vera Peeters, Pascal Van Cauwenberghe & Portia Tung

Objectives: learn how to assign business value to projects and stories, prioritize and make plans that bring value. Learn how to teach this.

Intended audience: participants to planning games, especially product owners and onsite customers; business people; customers; those who teach or coach the preceeding roles


Agile teams want to deliver maximum business value. That's easy if the Onsite Customer assigns business value to each story. But how does the Customer do that? How can you estimate business value?

How do you decide between stories? How do you decide between projects? How do you decide between clients?

This session gives you some simple business value estimation techniques that are "good enough" for everyday use.

The session is run as a game, where teams of 'businesspeople' have to make plans for their development team. The goal of the game is to earn as much money as possible by delivering features and stories with the highest possible business value, like in the XP Game. This game is a complement to the XP Game: how do these 'business value points" on the XP Game story cards get chosen?

Each businessperson in the team represents one (or more) clients who will buy the team's product IF their feature(s) is in the product. The team is going to have to make some tough decisions; the team is going to have to disappoint some clients, because the development team has a finite capacity.

We provide the clients and their wishes. We suggest the techniques to estimate business value. The rest is up to you.

Format: 90 min simulation

Background information:

The game is available under a "Creative Commons" license at

Mike Cohn has a presentation on that explains several techniques to prioritize themes and epics