Huge List of Free Lean Games!

Don't bore your team with static Powerpoint slides! Engage them with a Lean game to demonstrate your teaching. I've written about the 7 benefits of teaching Lean with simulations.

Some games below are perfect for quickly illustrating a Lean concept. Others are longer, suitable for larger training sessions with multiple iterations of the game.

Browse the list. Investigate. Try some! Let me which games worked for you.

I'll try to keep this list up to date, so please email me if you find broken links!

List of Lean Games and Simulations:

The White Albatross Game 
A game that teaches how to facilitate using a story with questions.

Lean Project Management Simulation
A pen and paper simulation that shows how inefficient multitasking is.

The 5S Alphabet Game - Online
A web-based 5S game.

Lean Lingo Bingo
A bingo game to use while you're presenting.

The Multitasking Test
Prove how great at multitasking you are with this quick, online game.

The Name Game
Write down names to prove that multitasking doesn't work.

The 5S Shapes Game
A Japanese lean guy teaches 5S using geometric shapes

The Marshmallow Challenge
Build a tower of spaghetti and marshmallow using the PDCA cycle.

Lean Paper Airplane Folding
A lean simulation using three rounds of paper airplane folding.

Lean Start-up Snowflake Game
Teams cut out snowflakes to satisfy a demanding customer.

Envelope Stuffing Videos
A great activity for demonstrating one-piece flow.

Lean Bucket Brigade Game
Not so much a game as a video showing a method that could be used with different games.

Bears in Space
A six sigma training game using gummy bears to create a Design of Experiments.

Kanban game with lego served in cups.
Simple game showing pull system technique.

Lean dice game
Turn dice at each process to simulate a process with different batch sizes.

Toyota University Lean Game
A video showing how Toyota runs their training sessions.

The Kanban Pizza Game
Make slices of pizza out of paper and send them through a bake oven.

Lean Dot Game
Simple game using post it notes and stickers.

Neverending Card Game
Explore lean concepts with this game using building lean reference cards.

Scrum Ball Point Game
Pass as many tennis balls as possible through your team.

    


Lean Box Game
Porsche JIT game described in Womack's Lean Thinking

Balancing Planes
Balance your own work cell with Lego planes.

Lean Cups Game
Assemble paper cups and trays in pull vs push scenarios.

Variability Dice Games
Multiple iterations of a dice game showcasing variability, interdependence and flow.

Kanban 1's Game
Roll dice to simulate work flow in software development.

Software Development Kanban Game
Another game targeted specifically at software development, modeling how stories travel across a kanban board.

Two Team Building Games
"Crossing the Line" is a quick simple negotiation game and "Customer Connections" energizes your team with PVC pipes.

Paper Airplane Lean Game
Directions on how to run your own Lean game by making paper airplanes.

Lean Lego Game
A proven lean simulation with teams building houses out of Lego over four rounds.

Paper Airplane Lean Simulation
A video series illustrating many lean concepts by folding paper airplanes in a simulated factory.

Mr. Happy Face
Teams craftily learn the difference between push and pull production while making faces with paper, scissors and glue.

The Penny Game
Flipping over coins in batches or one-by-one? Single-piece flow wins every time!

Red Bead Experiment
Dr. Deming's statistical Red Bead Experiment on video with a very funny facilitator.

Lean Bicycle Factory
Lose yourself for hours in this computer simulation of a bicycle factory.

The Pizza Game
A lean game using wooden train tracks and plastic chips to simulate a pizza making operation. The focus here is on value-stream mapping.

Lean Lego Game
This Lean simulation using Lego bricks is perfect for longer sessions, where multiple runs of the game teach the benefits of pull vs push, as well as kanban and 5S.



Perfect for a Lean office initiative, participants in this game process paperwork (simple math calculations) in different size batches.

Frog Factory
Professionally quality Lean game simulating a factory producing origami frogs. All directions and instructions included.

MIT Lego Simulation
30 minute video of an MIT lecture series showing a Lean Lego game in action. Excellent way to learn how to facilitate a Lean game.

Standard Pig
Perfect little exercise to illustrate the benefits of Standard Work, by getting everyone to draw a pig using specific instructions.

The Beer Game
Massive supply chain simulation that's been around for ages. Can be played in all it's complexity, or just portions.

The Kanban System Game
Kanban simulation using an excel spreadsheet. Surprisingly addictive!

Making Pamphlets
Investigate Lean concepts by making holiday brochures with your team using typical crafty supplies.

Lean Lego Simulation
Make 6 different Lego models, including a duck robot!

MIT Dice Game
A statistical game using dice to learn about the effect of variation in your process.

Card Drop Exercise
Investigate how rolled-throughput-yield affects your process by dropping playing cards toward a target.

Push-Line / Pull-Line
Instructions for running a Lean game with origami or paper airplanes.

The Bean Game
Longer Lean simulation using beans and dice to simulate a production facility.

The Bottleneck Game
Fold paper hats and learn about the Theory of Constraints. Use candy as money!

5S Numbers Game
Learn about 5S by searching for specific digits in a jumble of numbers.
Check out this variant of the 5S Numbers Game.

104 comments:

  1. Thank you. Very helpful. Do you know of anywhere to get free training powerpoints?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi Josh,
    Thanks for stopping by! I have collected a few training presentations in my list of helpful lean tools and downloads in the top right sidebar.
    One of the most comprehensive lists of presentations I found is here on Scribd.
    Good luck!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Great List. Thanks.

    I have a variation of the Ball Point Game, which I call the Ball Flow Game and use with Kanban-based teams:
    http://availagility.co.uk/ball-flow-game/

    Karl

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thanks Karl. I'll update the Ball Point Game post with a link to your version. I like the excel tracking sheet!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Maan,
    Any one knows about RED and BLACK game?

    ReplyDelete
  6. thank you, very helpful, I'm looking for a lean simulation game for sales, do you have it? thanks Hector

    ReplyDelete
  7. Do you know of any games that simulates Waste Elimination?

    ReplyDelete
  8. Nice compilation. I'll definitely try those. Thanks

    ReplyDelete
  9. Hi
    I have seen a game that had 5 puzzels in the shape of squares. A group of 5 had to each put one puzzle together, no talking. To make it work, usually someone had to take their perfect square and pull it apart for the good of the team to each have a completed square. Anyone have that or other game to get people to think about total systems? Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Hi, Do you know of any games that can be used to teach DMAIC in a group exercise? I am thinking more of a small mechanism that can be used to simulate problem solving, setting standard conditions etc.

    Thnx

    ReplyDelete
  11. Hi WT,
    I don't know of any that follow the DMAIC process strictly. But the Gummy Bear DOE or something like it may work well for six sigma. You can vary the parameters and get different results.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Have a look at the 5S Numbers Game variant - 5salphabetgame.blogspot.com
    Online Version to use - Send your feedback on the blog.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Hi everyone,
    Does anyone know a game for TPM training?
    Thak you very much!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I haven't been able to find one for TPM unfortunately. If you find anything, be sure to let us know.

      Delete
    2. This game should be useful for you. It is a simulation of problem solving in maintenance
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  14. Really interesting and useful. Thank you
    I am looking for a "why-to-measure" game to be used in a Performance Management/KPIs/Improvement training session. Does anyone know a game on this subject?
    Thank you in advance

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Interesting idea for a game or simulation. I'm sure you could add a KPI measurement aspect to many of these games and get to where you want to be. Not sure how much of a game it would be..

      Delete
  15. Lean friends,
    I am rolling out training for my team on Kaizen and an A3 Storyboard. I am looking for short (fun) videos that emphasize these two topics or even a short activity. Not sure why I am not finding anything that will work. Would appreciate any advice or wisdom on either of these subjects. Thanks, John john.borak@mgrc.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for checking out the site, John. There are a bunch of activities on this page, which I'm sure you've looked through. For a fun video, you could try Lean Gone Lego!

      Delete
  16. Have you ever heard of a game that to show impact on customer satisfaction by a method of a team following a simple recipe by making a flavored beverage and substituting salt for sugar in order to see who checks the ingredients they are given and who uses them without checking?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I haven't heard of that one, but in the book "101 Games for Trainers" there is a game mentioned where you dissolve sugar in a beaker, salt in a different beaker (hard to dissolve, must shake it) and put a marble in a beaker (doesn't dissolve). This one is used to demonstrate the differences in conflict resolution. Some conflicts are easy to fix, others are harder and some are just not possible to find a resolution.

      Delete
  17. Hi Martin,
    Really interesting and useful. Thank you!
    The link for the Frog Factory does not work any more. Do you have more information (instructions) for this game??

    H

    ReplyDelete
  18. Hello Martin
    Thank you for sharing all this interesting information about Lean
    Do you know if there is any short game (less than 30 min) that I can play with 3 people?
    Regards,
    Jorge

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Jorge,
      The Penny Game is probably the shortest game and can be easily played with only three people. It's a simple demonstration of batch vs single piece flow. Also, the 5S Numbers Game can be played with very few people, to show the benefits of 5S.

      Delete
  19. What is the best game to play if conducing a session on Kaizen? Looking to lighten it up with some videos and games. We are not in a production/factory environment, but a shared services team. Thank you!!

    ReplyDelete
  20. Thanks for the info. Do you know of any games (~30 min) that teach lean setup specifically?

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