DevOps Marshmallow Challenge

Let us build a tower in DevOps way.

“DevOps is a cultural and professional movement” – Adam Jacob.

In this simulation, we will apply DevOps Values and Culture in building the Tower.

DevOps Values

  • Culture
  • Collaboration
  • Trust
  • Decreasing Silos
  • System Thinking
  • Failures are Learning Opportunities
  • No Blame Game
  • No Victims
  • Focus on end Goal
  • Sharing
  • Measurement

DevOps 3 ways


DevOps enables to

  • Accelerate the flow of work – faster delivery
  • Amplify feedback – fast feedback and feed forward
  • Continuous Improvement

DevOps game – Marshmallow Challenge

To build the tallest freestanding tower with Spaghetti that will support the marshmallow.

Supplies for each team

  • 20 sticks of dry spaghetti
  • one yard of tape
  • one marshmallowScreenshot_502

Game Rules

  • Build the Tallest Freestanding Structure with just 20 spaghetti.
  • The Entire Marshmallow must be on top.
  • Each team should have a role of Development, Database, QA, and Operations.
  • 18 min to build tower.
  • DevOps principles & practices have to be applied while building.
  • At the end, one representative from each team should talk about the Principles and Value of DevOps they have applied while building.
  • Evaluation is based on the DevOps Principles applied and Product delivery.

I have conducted this session @ Prowareness  Bangalore through Software Architects meetup, around 90 team members participated and we had 9 teams.

We had 9 teams started to build tallest tower.


By 18 minutes teams have done with their product and getting ready for Retro.


A representative from each team Demoed quality product and shared the DevOps principles & practices they have applied while building.

The team who has applied most of the DevOps principles & practices and delivered quality product, they were the winners!


Learnings from game

  • We need to be Agile.
  • Marshmallow is the “Assumptions” of a project. Assumptions play an important role in development, assumptions has to be identified and analysed in the early stage of project.
  • Everyone follows the same Culture.
  • Each team has members of Development, Database, QA, and Operations by this we eliminating Silo teams.
  • Knowledge sharing happens among team members, this will enable Generalized than Specialized team members.
  • Team members from DEV, Database, QA, Operations are involved from the start of Project.
  • Everyone is responsible for delivering.
  • The team built trust with each other.
  • The team is communicating and collaborating at every point of a time.
  • Work is visible to everyone, the team has up-to-date information on the status of the work so that if any WAIT is happening that can be addressed immediately and enable a fast flow of work from left to right i.e. Business to Customer.
  • Valuing feedback as all the different department team members are in one team here, feedback from QA is being immediately incorporated.
  • Reduced Batch size so that small work can be deployed quickly and frequently in order to decrease the overhead of QA testing at the end, Integration happens at the end and so on.
  • The team is empowered to fail fast and continually learn from success and failure.

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