You’re a ScrumMaster or in a role interested in developing teams? You heard about intrinsic motivation and would like to understand your current state of motivation in the team?

Based on Jurgen Appelo‘s fascinating game Moving Motivators this post explains how you can play it with your (Scrum) teams. Find a detailled step by step description and some helpful tools and have some fun time with your teams.


  • Prepare a set of moving motivator cards – either by using the freely available PDF version or order a already prepared set – one for every team member (including you and your product owner 😉
  • Create an easy readable game overview, describing the two steps (ordering and ranking) and how you expect to work with the team. We used a flipchart page (btw do you already know Bikablo for visualization?)  
  • Think about the space your team member need to put the cards in order and afterwards do the ranking – visible for every team member and not overlapping. We used partially our tables or the floor.
  • Prepare the visualization for the ranking scale (from 0 to 8 – described later) – it must be highly visible during the game part II
  • Play the game in your mind and check the timings and workflow (to avoid wasting team time later on)

How to play it

  1. Explain the game and the ten motivators to the team. Answer questions and ensure a good clarification in the beginning. (Plan ˜15 min)
  2. Play Part I – ordering the ten motivators by their importance (horizontal – left most important to right unimportant). Every team member does it on his/her own. Allow a concentration phase. This steps takes a while and as ScrumMaster you can watch you team and experience the flow. (Plan ˜15 min)
  3. Team sync activity – every team member explains to all others his/her ordering of the ten motivators. Make it a team activity with some energy in there. Let all other team members “visit” the explaining one. This shows interest and avoids sitting meetings. In addition it helps the team to understand each other and learn about each other.

    During this phase the ScrumMaster notes each ones result for later usage. As each motivator starts with a unique letter it’s best to note only this letter down 😉 (Plan 2 min per team member)

  4. Play Part II – ranking each motivator in a scale from 0 to 8.
    • 0 – completely not motivated
    • 1 – nearly not motivated (with a remaining piece of motivation)
    • 2 – less motivated
    • 3 – slightly motivated
    • 4 – moderately motivated
    • 5 – Motivated
    • 6 – Motivated over average
    • 7 – Highly motivated
    • 8 – Very high motivation (not really much more possible ;-))

    Ensure high visibility of the scale during this part (Plan ˜15 min)

  5. Team sync activity – every team member explains to all others his/her ranking of each motivator. Again “visit” each other.

    Again the ScrumMaster notes it down.
    (Plan 2 min per team member)

  6. Let the team discuss about their observations and experience with the game. What did they see, learn, feel? I guess you’ll notice the energy in your team. 
  7. Explain the team, that you’ll summarize the teams output and send it to everyone.
During the whole game I suggest taking pictures from time to time. This way you can put it together with the results and your team will remember this session and you create a magic moment with it.

Ongoing usage

After your first time playing it you have a base for your team. Consider the individual and teams motivation and distribution. Are there areas with low motivation but high priority? Address it in your retrospective and discuss steps to improve it. 

What about individual motivation schemes – can you maybe use it for the team members development? Something to help in the career path?

If there are more teams – maybe you gather input from them too and provide a common picture about your current teams motivation state. 

Throughout team development phases, expected change processes or periodically – play the game again and look at what changed. You can use it like a health check.

Further material