Elephant Carpaccio, authored by Alistair Cockburn, is a wonderful exercise for software programming groups. It’s designed to practice breaking user stories into thin vertical slices (hence the name carpaccio) that can be delivered within the sprints. Its flexibility enables a wide range of usage.
It encourages the agile product development perspective. Many small teams can work parallel to each other. The format allows mixed level of technical expertise in the team, and non-developers are welcome. Pair-programming fits in well. The chosen technology stack is up to the teams to decide as part of the first steps of the exercise. Matteo Regazzi shares further recipes for creating different variations of the exercise.
I came across this tool while conducting a software engineering training for career changers in Berlin. As a facilitator, I find the tool very helpful for bringing different people together and creating an environment in which they need to collaborate closely together. Given the tight timing, everyone has to step out of their comfort zone. It can be used to assess team dynamics very well.
Henrik Kniberg compiled a great facilitation guide that can help you get started with hosting a Software Carpaccio session.