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All the Essence and other Practice card resources you need to start using serious gameplay to accelerate your learning and enhance team performance!

The Essence Alpha State cards, Game Guides and a number of popular essentialized practice card decks have been made available below to help organizations, teams and individuals learn quicker and be more productive.

Spotify Model Essentials Cards

The essential elements of the Spotify Model described in the Essence Language.  The Spotify Model Essentials fundamentally consists of organizational patterns, activities, and core beliefs.

We have in collaboration with Joakim Sundén put together a first draft of what we believe are the essential building blocks of the Spotify Model described with Essence. It is based not only on previous white papers and videos, but draws on Joakim’s experience from co-developing the model during his employment at Spotify from 2011-2017.

User Story Essentials Cards

One of the most popular ways for Agile teams to describe their requirements is to use User Stories. Although originating in eXtreme Programming, the technique was popularized in the book ‘User Stories Applied’ by Mike Cohn, co-founder of the Agile Alliance and Scrum Alliance.

IJI has created the User Story Essentials practice, with guidance, support and encouragement from Mike Cohn. It will help you understand and apply this fun and powerful technique.

Scrum Cards

Three key collections included:
- Scrum Foundations
- Scrum Essentials
- Scrum Accelerator

The cards act as an interactive glossary in support of The 2020 Scrum Guide.™

Use the cards to:
- Act as a quick reference
- Improve your Scrum implementation
- Play games
- Perform health checks
- Integrate Scrum with other practices

Use Case 2.0 Practice Cards

A scalable, agile practice that uses use cases to capture a set of requirements and drive the incremental development of a system to fulfill them.  Use this practice to capture requirements in an accessible form and drive the development of software.

Download the Cards and consider some serious games to help learn and use the Use Case 2.0 Essentials practice on your endeavour. 

Scrum @ Scale Cards

Two key collections included:
- Scrum of Scrum Essentials
- Executive Scrum

The Essence of Scrum @ Scale’s approach to running a Scrum of Scrums and leading agile organizations. The cards act as an interactive glossary in support of The 2020 Scrum Guide.™

Use the cards to:
- Act as a quick reference
- Improve your Scrum implementation
- Play games
- Perform health checks
- Integrate Scrum with other practices

Need some professionally printed cards?

Want to enhance your game-playing experience?  Why not grab some real cards to save printing and preparation time. We have alpha-state cards available with the Agile Essentials and Agile At Scale Essentials practice cards ready to ship.

We are adding more practices all the time, so be sure to check back from time to time for more card decks.

Please visit our online store to order professionally printed Essence and Practice cards.  These are great to enhance your game playing experience!

Agile Essentials


The Agile Essentials practices provide a basic starter kit toolbox that covers all the common and critical aspects of team-based development.

Great for simple Endeavours with one or two teams involved where you just want to talk a common language and get going fast!

Great for game driven learning using ‘poker-style’ playing cards and/or agile simulation.

Agile at Scale Essentials

The Agile at Scale Essentials practices provide a basic starter kit toolbox that covers all the common and critical aspects of scaled agile development.

Great for challenging Endeavours with several teams involved where you want to make all teams work in a unified agile way!

Great for game driven learning using ‘poker-style’ playing cards and/or agile simulation.

Alpha State Cards

These cards represent the key things to work with (Alphas), part of the heart of the Essence standard called the Kernel.

Alphas represent key performance indicators for a development endeavor. They are entirely method, life-cycle, process, practice and even philosophy independent, so it doesn’t matter what your personal belief system is - they can be applied to any endeavour.

Alpha State Cards can help your team:
- Understand the current state of your development endeavor
- Troubleshoot problem areas
- Set objectives for future work
- Facilitate retrospectives
- Identify areas for improvement

SAFe Principles Cards

The SAFe® principles are very powerful but they can be quite hard for people to understand and therefore whole-heartedly support.

To this end we have produced a set of poker-sized cards that we believe present the ten SAFe® principles in a self-contained, readily accessible fashion — allowing executives, leaders, and team members to readily understand them and quickly assess their relevance. This is something that is invaluable at any stage of a SAFe® adoption. Read the blog to see the games that can assist your teams in analysing gaps and applying Lean-Agile thinking.

Product Owner / Product Manager Principles Cards

One of the key roles in SAFe is that of the content authority, a role performed by the Product Management group for the ART and the Product Owner community for the teams.

The agility of this group is fundamental to the benefit you will gain from the Team’s agility. If the Product Managers and Product Owners are not Agile and living and breathing SAFe’s Lean and Agile Principles and Values then the Agile Release Train (ART) will not deliver the benefits promised by SAFe.

SAFe Architects Principles Cards

Architects are responsible for overall technical excellence and driving the technical direction of the Solutions they own. However, they may find themselves disconnected from the day-day work of the software engineers and find it difficult to align their long-term Architectural plans with the incremental and iterative plans created by Agile development teams. Engineers focus every day on delivering solutions to complex technical problems, but they may not fully appreciate how the way they work together, and the way they make decisions together, can have a profound impact on the speed and quality of their deliveries.

Scrum Master and Release Train Engineer Principles Cards

The Release Train Engineers and Scrum Masters should be the most Agile people on the ART as it is their job to grow and stimulate an Agile mindset across everyone in their teams.

Unfortunately, they can fall into the trap of thinking that many of the SAFe Principles are for others rather than themselves. For example - they may believe that ‘Taking an Economic View’ is just something Product Managers need to think about, or that Systems Thinking is just for the Architects.

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