Scrum Lego Game — Observations

1. Overview

We played Scrum Lego Game with different teams.

Learning points: try Scrum ceremonies and practices in action during simulation while building Lego City.

In this post I decided to share our observations and insights.
Few words about the game. This is not competitive, but a collaborative game. Teams do not compete with each other, but has to collaboratively build a Lego City. Without collaboration both teams fail.

2. Insights

We experiment all the time and learning from our students:

  • Some of the most valuable changes to the game emerging ad-hoc, unplanned (cars, planes, acceptance criteria for different types of buildings). But their implementation requires some planning though 🙂
  • Recently we discover that a man can remember up to 150 names, thus business units should be not bigger than 150 people.
  • Interesting stories about Cargo Cult (wooden airport, bamboo riffles) told us by participants.

3. Fun in Photos

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Special thanks to Victor Kalmus for photos.

4. Game in Action: 4 fragments

Curious how the game looks in action? Take a look at few fragments below:

5. Unexpected solutions from trainers

  • Limit supply to boost collaboration and creativity (too much Lego makes teams not-lean and not-cooperative)
  • Do not give very detailed instructions on every piece of work and teams will pleasantly surprise you
  • Show teams how to challenge everything (using laser printer to print asphalt road – is it expensive?)
  • Demanding of early delivery of epic forces teams to collaborate, fail fast and learn fast from failure
  • Definition of Done convey clear expectations about what “Done” means and “keep code table clean” from inventory (unfinished work)
  • To support teams motivation Product Owner can “protect” teams from too strict acceptance of Business Owner, but reasonable critics is very welcome.

6. Pre-designed discoveries

  • Specifications for building modules/blocks – we demanded “compliance with governmental regulations and policies” when constructing buildings.
  • Acceptance criteria to be pulled out of the Product Owner and Business Owners. Poor work of teams in this area lead to failure of stories (“You did not meet my expectations”) — just to show how The Laws are working in real life.

7. Materials

  • Lego bricks (6 packs for team of 10 players).
  • Post-It notes
  • A4 paper
  • markers
  • scissors
  • timer
  • … and anything else you find handy and appropriate (like toys: cars, plane, bus) 🙂

8. Running lean

  • If you have a lot of Lego, let teams “pull” that lego from you by alerting that they ran out of materials.
  • You may also challenge their ability to find lego bricks by “refactoring” previously made buildings from “expensive” bricks and replace those bricks with “cheaper” bricks, thus allocating materials for new buildings.

9. Business Owner / Product Owners / Teams

We had 3 roles:

  1. Business Owner – person who actually ordered and owns the City. Primary sponsor.
  2. Product Owners – representatives of BO in teams acting as Scrum Product Owners.
  3. Teams – whoever works over constructing the City.

10. Links to game:

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