The Mexican Standoff Stand-up

In one of my teams retrospectives, we identified a problem with our stand-up running on too long. I challenged the team to come up with a fun way to keep us on time.

This team consists of some really talented individuals in design and user experience so I was expecting great things and they didn’t disappoint.

Welcome to the Mexican Standoff Stand-up with Nerf guns!

For those of you who may be unfamiliar with The Mexican Standoff, here is the Wikipedia definition :

A Mexican standoff is a confrontation amongst two or more parties in which no strategy exists that allows any party to achieve victory.

For those of you more visually minded here’s a picture from one of my favourite movies.

Reservoir Dogs Mexican Standoff


How does it work?

Give each person a Nerf gun like this:

Nerf Gun

or this:

Nerf Gun


Everyone stands in a circle. They begin their daily synchronisation.

Now for the fun bit. If anyone begins to stray off topic, or spends far too long on a topic, any other team member can shoot them. (My advice is to avoid the face. We’ve not had a casualty yet but I imagine a Nerf bullet in the eye isn’t very pleasant!)

I now find myself disappointed when we finish within the time-box because it means I haven’t been able to shoot anyone.

I encourage you to try it with your teams – it’s a lot of fun.