Gamify group engagement
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Published August 09, 2022

What Is Pick-Play-Pass?

Pick-play-pass is a game used to cohesively organize divergent perspectives.

"Pick-play-pass" can be used as a method to perform practices like Priority Sliders, Impact & Effort matrix, or Relative Sizing.

Why Do Pick-Play-Pass?

It's a game. It's fun. It builds shared understanding and alignment.

This practice is particularly well suited to large audiences as it provides an equal opportunity for all participants to be engaged (not just a few HIPOs or vocal participants.)

How to do Pick-Play-Pass?

Pick-play-pass is played similar to gift giving games such as "white elephant" or "yankee swap."


  1. Populate an un prioritized backlog with a list of topics to be reviewed by the group.
  2. Build a visual scale to plot topics. The scale must be large enough to fit all topics (Single axis is better, but 2 axis graph is also OK)


  1. The first participant pick an item from the backlog and plot it on the scale. The participant should give a short explanation of why they placed the item where they did.

  2. The second participant now has 2 options:

    • "Pick" a new item to plot on the the scale.
    • "Play" a previously placed item and move it. Similar to picking a new item, any "play" movements should be accompanied by a brief explanation why the participant thinks the item should be moved.
  3. Additional participants should continue to "pick" or "play" items until all items are plotted on the scale. If there are more cards than participants, loop back to the first participant after the last participant has made a move.

  4. Once all items have been plotted, participants now have 3 options:

    • "Pick" a new item to plot on the the scale.
    • "Play" a previously placed item and move it.
    • "Pass" their turn if they do not want to move any items on the scale.
  5. The game is over when all participants choose to "pass" their turn, indicating agreement.

Look at Pick-Play-Pass

Links we love

Check out these great links which can help you dive a little deeper into running the Pick-Play-Pass practice with your team, customers or stakeholders.

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