Create a Team Working Agreement (with Benny Hill Sorting)

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With this guide, a group of people can create a collaborative team agreement: the rules by which they want to play to optimize learning and collaboration. They can express the values and principles that all participants should honor.

The goal is to learn what you want to agree on as a group and which rules the group members should follow to achieve optimal collaboration and learning together.

Duration: 10 minutes
Group size: 2 to 25 people
Requirements: sticky notes
Presence: collocated only

  1. Write values, rules or principles

On one or more sticky notes, write (privately) one important value, rule, or principle to express “desirable behavior of workshop participants”. Do this step individually. No discussion or peeking at your neighbor’s sticky notes! Begin each sticky note with, “I will…”

For example, “I will make no distinction between age, race, or gender.”

  1. Get ready for mixing and voting

Write ideas for a few minutes until each person has a few sticky notes. Then stand up while holding your suggestions. And take a pen with you.

  1. Mix randomly

While some music is playing (preferably “Yakety Sax,” the Benny Hill theme), you move through the room while randomly switching papers with anyone you meet. This goes on for about 10 seconds.

  1. Compare and vote

When the music stops, team up with two or three random people (not more than three!). Compare the sticky notes you all have in your hands. Remove any duplicates.

Do a quick round of dot voting together with three dots per person.

  1. Repeat

Repeat steps 3 and 4 between three and five times. When more duplicate sticky notes are found in subsequent rounds, combine their votes and put one sticky note underneath the other so that there’s no confusion when you pass them on.

  1. Finish

After the last round, create a Working Agreement area on a wall and place the results there and rank the results according to the votes.


This exercise is inspired by TiSDD Method: Benny Hill Sorting (Thirty-Five)

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This exercise is part of the Shiftup Business Agility & Innovation Leader workshop. An official workshop is a fun and easy way to earn 33% of the required experience points. Check out our calendar here.


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