Instant Forums

Instant Forums are a collection of our best collaboration frameworks that are pre-packaged and ready for you to use. 

Just click on the image of the framework and you'll start a forum based on this framework. 

Note that while the framework is public - meaning, anyone can see the framework - the results of the framework ar private. 

To see the results, just click on the Community tab in the project organizer.  

CategoryFrameworks Designed To Help You...
Planning Plan and prioritize projects and features.
Retrospectives Conduct retrospectives with your distributed teams.
Prune the Product Tree Prune the Product Tree (also known as Prune the Future helps you identify how products, services and processes should evolve over time.
Speed Boat Speed Boat and its variations help you identify what to improve in products, services and processes.
Buy a Feature Buy a Feature, Participatory Budgeting, and its variations help you identify what to improve in products, services and processes. Learn more in our free ebook!

Planning Frameworks

The agile community has created some powerful collaboration frameworks for planning. We've captured a few our favorites here as instant-start forums -- just click on the image to start an online forum. 


Mitch Lacey Team Prioritization

Objective: Prioritize backlog items.

How to Play:

Chart to-do items based on their complexity and urgency. Simply drag the notecard icons to their respective areas of the graph and describe what they represent. Layers and Regions will keep track of where the items have been placed.

This framework was inspired by Mitch Lacey's book: The Scrum Field Guide: Practical Advice For Your First Year.

Whole Product Game

Objective: Differentiate your product.

How to play: 

Light bulbs represent ideas. Simply drag them to one of the four categories: the Generic Product, Expected Product, Augmented Product, and Potential Product. Note: This framework is Luke Hohmann's favorite because it focuses on product differentiation, not product development.

This differentiation game was inspired by Ted Levitt article "Whole Product Strategy".

How-Now-Wow Matrix

Objective: Select the best ideas as a group. 

How to Play:

The framework is a 2x2 grid in which the X-axis denotes the originality of the idea and the Y-axis shows the ease of implementation. Now/Blue Ideas – Normal ideas, easy to implement. How/Yellow Ideas – Original ideas, impossible to implement. Wow/Green Ideas – Original ideas, easy to implement. In this framework, lightbulbs will represent your ideas.

We've collaborated with the Gamestorming team to bring you this online framework. Read more on how it works here.

Retrospective Frameworks

The agile community has created some powerful collaboration frameworks for retrospectives. We've captured a few our favorites here as instant-start forums -- just click on the image to start an online forum.


Circles and Soup

We have collaborated with Diana Larsen to bring you this retrospective analysis framework.

Objective: Form high-quality plans by identifying what is within your control

How to play: Blue squares represent ideas. Drag them to the circles and describe what they signify. The three circles categorize aspects you control, can influence, and must adapt to.

Actions for Retrospectives

This retrospective collaboration framework is based on Nick Oostvogel’s Actions Centered. 

Objective: Improve an event for the future.

How to Play: Drag icons onto the chart and describe them. There is a different icon for each of the 5 categories: Puzzles - question marks; Wishes - stars; Actions - fists; Risks - bombs; Appreciations - happy face.

Pros/Cons Game
We've collaborated with the Gamestorming team to bring you this online collaboration framework. 
Objective/How-to-Play: As described by Dave Gray, the Pro/Con list is credited to Benjamin Franklin. In this game, we'll give you some blue pluses and red minuses so that you and your distributed team can all explore an issue using a centuries old technique with modern tools.
Plus/Delta Game

Objective: Generate constructive feedback. 

How to Play: Ask players to reflect on what was positive/repeatable about an activity and capture their thoughts under the “plus” column using “plus” icons. Ask your players to denote what they would change under the “delta” column using the “delta” icons. Layers and regions will help you keep track of where items are placed and the impact they have.

Learning Matrix

 This collaboration framework from Diana Larsen and Esther Derby’s Agile Retrospectives is great for iteration retrospectives.

Objective: Think of productive improvements for your iteration 

How to Play: There are four icons representing different aspects of your retrospective analysis: frown face – what you didn’t like; happy face – what you liked; light bulb – ideas you should try; bouquet – people you appreciated. Drag icons to the matrix and describe what they represent.

This retrospective technique was created by Madhavi Ledalla.

This collaboration framework uses Kite-Flying as a Metaphor. I was flying kites with my friends at the Pongal festival, and we had a few tangles on the ground, but we could remove these by ourselves. But as the kite flew high, it got stuck between some wires, and we had to get some external help from our neighbors and use sticks and other tools to remove these blockers so we could have a smooth flyway. A thought came to me that this experience was relevant to some of the scenarios that we see with the teams. We come across many bottlenecks during the sprint, and they can be classified into two categories: Team-level impediments that the team is stuck with but that can be resolved by the team if they work on them consciously (similar to tangles on the ground). Organizational-level impediments that are beyond the team level and need to be escalated to the next level for resolution (similar to the wires in the sky). So we had a retrospective a few days after the Pongal festival, and I drew a kite on the board and asked the team to imagine the kite as the good work that they have been doing. I also encouraged the team to: Identify the good work they have been doing so far and that they would like to continue doing Identify team-level impediments that they could resolve themselves, provided they really work on them. Identify impediments that need escalation to the next level because they require support from the organization or senior management for resolution. Teams liked this method a lot, and they were easily able to draw a clear line of distinction between the team-level impediments and those that needed escalation to the next level.

This retrospective technique was created by Madhavi Ledalla.

This retrospective technique uses a mountain-trekking as a metaphor. Imagine the team is on a mountain-hiking venture, during the mountain hiking, I. There are things like wearing helmet, using ropes that would help the team reaching the gaol., II. Few impediments like the rocks and slippery slopes that would bring the team down the mountain. III. Risks like rain or storm that can impede the team from reaching the mountain top. Similar to the mountain hiking, there are things that slow down the team , and things that help the team move up and few risks that hinder the team reach the sprint goal. Objects : Ropes, Helmet, Boots: Enablers Thunder: Risks Rocks: Blockers Goal: Keep doing things

This retrospective technique was created by Madhavi Ledalla.

This technique uses a metaphor of “TEAM JOURNEY”, to make the team visualize how they have been working together as a team. I noticed that whenever we said that the team has been travelling together, be it in a train, boat, or a plane, it created some special bonding between the team members. They could come up with data about how their sprints had gone and how they could make their journey a better and more enjoyable ride. The Team Journey concept could be used after the team has completed a minimum of four or five sprints, so that they can really visualize how they work together. This game helps the teams come up with, blockers, enablers, good work that they would like to continue doing and some new-initiatives that they would like to take up based on their past journey.

Prune the Product Tree

Gardeners prune trees to control their growth. Sometimes the pruning is artistic, and we end up with shrubs shaped like animals or interesting abstract shapes. Much of the time the pruning is designed to build a balanced tree that yields high quality fruit. The process isn’t about “cutting” – it is about “shaping.” Use this metaphor to help create the future that you and customers desire. We start with an image of tree. Limbs of the tree represent related capabilities or areas. We "seed" the tree with the apples, leaves, and other items that capture our ideas for growth. We "prune" the tree to remove unnecessary items. Items placed near the trunk of the tree represent things that should be done sooner in time, while items at the edges of the tree represent items that should be done later in time. The roots represent the infrastructure of your product, service or process. We know that the roots of a tree (your support and customer care infrastructure) need to extend at least as far as your canopy. Do yours? Remember that when you click on these games the online platform will make and store a copy of the game definition in your account along with the results of the game. To invite players to your game, copy the URL at the bottom of the screen into your online forum.

Here are some helpful resources for your online forum. Download them and edit them to meet your needs.


Prune the Future People who work in large organizations know that most change doesn’t happen immediately or in broad sweeps. It happens incrementally by taking small, strategic steps. Prune the Future uses a tree as a metaphor to show how the future of anything can be shaped, one leaf at a time. Red & Green Apples? Tasty! Rotten Apples? Get rid of these! This tree matches the high-resolution poster of the tree that we often use in our classes or in-person events. You can therefore use the high resolution version for in-person events and this lower resolution version for online games. (Lower resolutions work better online because they load faster).

Tree with Red Apples This tree uses red apples and has two defined regions to express time: Sooner and Later. Sooner is the low hanging fruit and Later are ideas that are higher up in the tree's canopy.
This collaboration framework can be played in a number of ways. Prior to inviting players, the facilitator can add apples to the tree to label them to represent an existing product roadmap -- each apple is a feature on the roadmap or a project in a program. Ask players to move the apples or delete them in order to shape the roadmap. You may reserve some apples to allow them to add new ideas. You can also use the tree to show time. For example, low hanging fruit is "sooner" in time and fruit place high in the canopy is "later" in time. Consider using the roots to show ideas that are related to infrastructure and again, time can be shown based on placement. Roots closer to the surface are sooner, and roots deeper in the ground are later. Think about how you may want to use red apples vs yellow apples - you may want to use them to distinguish between feature or program types. You may want to use the bananas to allow players to add really big or crazy ideas that are outside of what may be considered "safe" or normal ideas.

Speed Boat

Designed to identify opportunities to improve products, processes, or services, Speed Boat is deceptively simple in play and surprisingly powerful in results. To review, here are the basics of play. Start with a picture of a boat. You’d like the boat to really move fast. Unfortunately, the boat has a few anchors holding it back. The boat is your system, your process, or your service and the anchors are the issues that are slowing down customers. By understanding these issues, you can identify how to improve your products, processes and services. One of the nicer things about Speed Boat is that it can be extended with lots of other metaphors. For example, you can use planes that want to go fast with luggage that slows things down. Or, you could use a race car that wants to go fast, with tacks on the road that slow it down. Speed Boat is also effective at eliciting the aspects of your system that are working well. These are puffs of wind in a sail boat or gas cans on your cars. As you play more games, you'll find that you can use these starting games as a means to build your own games. Remember that when you click on these games the online platform will make and store a copy of the game definition in your account along with the results of the game. To invite players to your game, copy the URL at the bottom of the screen into your game.

Here are some helpful resources for your online forum. Download them and edit them to meet your needs.


Speed Boat with Propellers and Anchors This collaboration framework can be played with colleagues or customers and is designed to understand both positives and negatives -- things that players like and problems and issues. It has 25 propellers to represent positives and 40 anchors to represent negatives. The framework is prepopulated with three regions to capture the "weight" or "badness" of the anchor and two regions to capture the "goodness" of the propeller.

Speed Boat with Anchors This collaboration framework can be played with colleagues or customers and is designed to understand how to improve a product, process or service. It has 40 anchors to represent negatives. The game has three regions to capture the "weight" or "badness" of the anchor. 

Race Car with Tacks and Flames 

This is a version of the Speed Boat collaboration framework designed for internal use. The goal in this framework is to identify which things help your team beat the competition (turbo flames) and which things slow your team down (tacks in the road). This framework doesn't have any layers or regions, because the items themselves will give you the results of the forum. 

Buy a Feature Collaboration Framework

Create a list of potential features or projects and provide each with a name, a description, an overview of benefits and price. Just like for a real product, the price can be based on development costs, customer value, or something else. Players buy items that they want in the next release of your product using their allocated budget, which is a portion of the total amount of money for all of the items. Encourage customers to pool their money to buy especially important and/or expensive features. This will help motivate negotiations between customers as to which features are most important.

Here are some helpful resources for your online forum. 

BaFo Screen

Buy a Feature - For some features

While Buy a Feature has a lot of uses and variations, the core use of Buy a Feature is to prioritize a list of features. This framework is based on a set of features for a fictitious travel company. Give it a spin!

Oh - if you start the framework and you find you're alone, don't fret. Our system will either automatically add new players to your framework or drop slots and give you more money to spend. Whether it is more opportunities to collaborate (you did share the URL for the forum, didn't you?) or more money to spend, either way you're a winner!

BaFo Screen

Wanna Buy a Part of Scrum?

Novices often want to pick apart Scrum before they’ve had a chance to experience it. And while we here at Conteneo are supportive of groups modifying Scrum to meet their needs, a topic Luke addressed directly in his Agile 2015 keynote, we also recommend that teams new to Scrum learn the basics of the framework before modifying it.

Yeah, we know this reeks of practicality, but hey – Conteneo is all about getting stuff done through Collaboration.

That said, it is often hard to understand how the elements of the Scrum framework work together as a system. So, we need techniques to promote systems thinking about Scrum.

Certified Scrum Trainer Carlton Nettleton of Look Forward Consulting created a really novel use of the collaboration framework Buy a Feature to promote the systems thinking so critical to the effective use of Scrum. He calls his approach Buy a Framework. The full description is in his blog post here, so we will just summarize the basics.

  • Carlton identifies each aspect of the Scrum Framework and assigns it a price. 
  • Small teams are given the option to work together to purchase those aspects of the framework they think are most important with a limited budget. They can’t purchase everything, so they have to reason about “what’s most important” and the impact of giving something up. 

The real value is the deeper learning and systems thinking promoted by this framework. Want to try this out? Great!

We have configured a version of this framework that you can use with your Scrum team (up to 8 people) by following these steps:

  1. Organize a meeting with your team. 
  2. When you’re ready, everyone joins the forum using this URL: 
  3. Engage the forum – and see what your team thinks!
You'll end up with two amazing insights: How to use Buy a Feature and how to explore what aspects of Scrum are important to your team!
BaFo Screen Corporate Social Responsibility
This gala is designed to illustrate how a company who makes a lot of running shoes, perhaps located in Portland, OR, could engage all of their employees in selecting projects for a corporate social responsibility program.