The Dragon & The Koi Fish

Agile Zangief
3 min readFeb 9, 2022


The Dragon & The Koi Fish is a dynamic that can be used in teams to gain trust and better relationships through recognition and knowledge of achievements and fails in the team. This can be applied on remote or allocated team.

Photo by Brian McGowan on Unsplash

Origin of this idea

Dragons are extraordinary creatures that are admired all over the world and on the other side the legend said that the Koi Fish swim upstream to reach a waterfall and climb it, and as a reward of all this effort they transform into dragons. Taking this legend into consideration, Koi Fish represent the team members that made mistakes but swim upstream and climb the mistake to get transformed into dragons by learning and sharing their mistakes.

How can you start with this

In this dynamic we got two sides, the Dragon and the Koi Fish, talking about the Dragon this role is represented by a team member that have to share an extraordinary story about anyone in the team, it can be any achievement during the iteration of work(Sprint) or even a personal story about any team mate, this help the team to care personally on the peers and give recognition, which can be a moving motivator to some people.

In the other side the Koi Fish is represented by a team member that have to say something he did wrong in the iteration of work(Sprint), if this action still have active repercussions he gets instant forgiveness, this dynamic gives trust to the team members and shows that they are humans and can make mistakes, also motivates the team to join forces to solve the team problems and enhance transparency.

Photo by Karla Hernandez on Unsplash

During the Dynamic

In the first time this dynamic is used, the facilitator explains the role of the Dragon and the role of the Koi Fish. Facilitator should be prepare for being the first Dragon, after the sharing an extraordinary story pass the word to anyone that want to become the first Koi fish; if no-one wants to be the first Koi Fish, the Dragon choose a fish to “eat” and pass the word by choosing the next Koi.

In the next iteration of this activity, start with the Dragon and repeat the dynamic of the extraordinary story, and the Koi, does not necessarily have to be a single Koi on each iteration, this dynamic can be used weekly, biweekly or monthly, this is a reinforcement for specific skills in the team.

When to stop this dynamic?

As this is designed just to focus on specific skills in the team, this should be stopped when the team asks to stop it, or when in the team do on normal basis recognition of others work and notify everyone when they have a problem so they can collaborate to solve it.

Extra: Benefits expected from this Dynamic

The first and more important benefit is the creation of a greater knowledge inside the team that always represents more confidence and better relations.

Increase of transparency as the problems are solved in team.

If you read through this part, I hope you like this, and if you have any comment or question feel free to reach !



Agile Zangief

In this space I’ll share some Agile dynamics, stories and crazy ideas that goes through my mind.