Running the "Elephant Carpaccio" exercise for the first time(s)

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Booster Conf, 13 March 2024
Joep Schuurkes
Sr Test Engineer
Dutch Electoral Council

Elephant Carpaccio - what?

created by Alistair Cockburn in 2008(?)

focus: really thin vertical slices

a simple retail calculator
three inputs and one input
any programming language
any interface

break down in 15-20 slices

build in 5 iterations of 8 minutes

drawing of an elephant with red vertical lines drawn to indicate slices

Elephant Carpaccio - why?

thin vertical slices lead to:

- better quality
- sooner feedback
- easier planning
- delivering more often

Elephant Carpaccio - how?

Walk-in & Intro (10 mins)

Why slice small? (10 mins)

Backlog breakdown (40 mins)

Short break (10 mins)

Development (45 mins)

Short break (5 mins)

Review (10 mins)

Debrief (20 mins)

How I prepared

read blog posts and the facilitation guide

do the exercise on my own

adapt the exercise to remote

have experience facilitating workshops

have experience story slicing

How it went

well and better every time (after some tweaks)


- runnning short on time
- finding the right level of intervention
- getting the most out of the debrief

What happened after

participants stuck around to discuss more

participants applied it in their teams

Elizabeth Zagroba ran it twice at the same company

friend was surprised to find my blog posts

used slicing in my current project

What I hope you'll do

try out things on your colleagues

Elephant Carpaccio is a great exercise

but there are many other things you could do
a book club, a lean coffee, ensemble/mob sessions,
a coding kata, capture the flag, ...

Resources for Elephant Carpaccio

thank you!

slides at