Resources: 15-minute FOTO

15-minute FOTO – aka the And when X... game1 – is our Creative Commons-licensed and Clean Language-inspired coaching game that’s not just for coaches – everyone gets a turn! Consistently, it’s a highlight of our workshops: it’s fun, insightful, and surprisingly practical. Above all, it’s the tool by which we generate outcomes – outcomes being the currency in which we deal2.

FOTO stands for “From Obstacles to Outcomes”, and you have 15 minutes to generate as many as you can, using only the questions on the cue card. An example of “generative over prescriptive” if you like. It is described in chapter 1 of Agendashift: Outcome-oriented change and continuous transformation (2018) and you can see a demonstration in the video further down this page.

1, 2See the blog post Aka the ‘And when X…’ game and the series The language of outcomes.

The 15-minute FOTO cue card

We recommend that the cue cards are printed on A5-sized card, one per person.

If you'd like access to Dropbox with all the original files for the cue cards, the facilator’s deck, and the latest translations thereof (versions of the cue card are available in German, Italian, and Swedish), just ask:

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Request the 15-minute FOTO materials

Agendashift™ is copyright © 2015-2020 Positive Incline Ltd. All rights reserved. 15-minute FOTO by Mike Burrows of Positive Incline Ltd is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. To view a copy of this license, visit

To see this game used in conjunction with the Agendashift True North, watch Exercises in Lean-Agile Transformation with Mike Burrows (

Facilitation tips

  • Before playing the game, take the time to demonstrate how the Clean Questions work:
    • Start with some examples of your own
    • Then practice on a sample obstacle or two from your list
  • Set the expectation that they should be able to generate a good number of outcomes in the limited time available
  • If after the 15 minutes are up you decide to extend the exercise, that's ok
  • Every few minutes you can encourage groups to rotate roles
  • You can get your list of obstacles (a required input to the game) from a variety of sources, for example:
    • Your retrospectives, and more specifically by reflection on customer dissatisfactions and team frustrations (see chapter 3 of the book)
    • The results of an exercise to reflect on a True North statement (yours or ours and identifying obstacles that stand in the way (chapter 1)
    • After prioritising the results of an assessment (chapter 2)
  • You can organise the outcomes you generate in a number of ways:
    • Short-term, medium-term, long-term (chapter 1)
    • The Cynefin four points contextualisation exercise (chapter 2)
    • Story mapping and impact mapping (chapter 3)
  • Don't skimp on printing; reading the questions off a screen doesn't work nearly so well, and it's good to give everyone something they can take away
  • Debrief afterwards:
    • The results
    • The experience
  • Finally, do encourage participants interested in Clean Language to check out our recommended reading page as highlighed at the end of the deck


Depending on the nature of your question, try one of these channels in the Agendashift Slack:

  • #cleanlanguage
  • #workshops
  • #coaching
  • #agendashift-book

Alternatively, get in touch via our contact page.


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About us

Agendashift™ is brought to you by Positive Incline Ltd, UK-based specialists in Lean, Agile, strategy, and change. Founder Mike Burrows came to prominence in the Lean-Agile community as the orginator of Kanban’s values model, out of which came his first book, Kanban from the Inside (2014). His more recent books Agendashift (2018) and Right to Left (2019) bring a resolutely needs-based and outcome-oriented perspective to change, transformation, and the Lean-Agile landscape as a whole, contributing meanwhile a number of popular tools, games, and other resources. He works as a consultant, facilitator, and trainer, and as a keynote speaker at events public and private around the world.

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