Things we learned from Scrum LEGO planning game

Scrum LEGO planning game

Let’s start with some fun facts:

  • 105,000 LEGO pieces are made every minute
  • There are at least 80 LEGO pieces for every human on the planet
  • Lego generates 60% of its business in December

(Data from Jeff Shuey)

The baby boomers who grew up playing with Gameboy and Nintendo are re-discovering the joy and power of bricks, partly thanks to Scrum LEGO-building games.

If you have children, you might be familiar that Lego is beyond ‘bricks-building’ skills. But it also stimulates imagination, stirs up creativity and encourages collaboration.

As a digital agency, we always work in an interdisciplinary team on complex projects. With an experienced Scrum Master in house, it is a relatively new framework we have been trying to embrace to deliver effective communication across team and stakeholders to facilitate innovation and efficiency.

So what can LEGO bricks tell us about Scrum?

Scrum Lego game, first explored by Alexey Krivitsky, is perhaps one of the quickest and (the fun) ways to learn about how Scrum can help create a smooth process in product development. This methodology actually helps us depart from the conventional framework to take a distinctive approach.

Also, LEGO is fun. That’s for sure.

How does it work?

The game included 3 separate teams, a product owner, stakeholder and Scrum Master. With a shared vision of building a LEGO city with adequate urban infrastructure, our team’s objective was to create educational facilities.

Learning points for Scrum LEGO planning game

 

Following a quick brainstorming, we then decided on a number of educational facilities (such as university and primary school) which would cater for the needs of our potential buyers. We estimated how much workload each item would require to build on the scale of 1 to 8.

Estimating workload for Scram Lego planning game

As we went about to actually build each facility with product backlog in mind, the first iteration was not as successful as it should have been. With only 7 minutes to finish the task, the quality was less than ‘adequate’. After each sprint, we received stakeholder’s ‘ruthless’ feedback and the result from every sprint went to the burnup chart.

Scrum lego planning game - burnup chart

Lessons we learned;                                            

  • Estimation and assumption don’t always work – Particularly the first sprint highlighted our initial estimation of time and resource required to complete backlogs was not quite useful. While we managed to complete the first sprint on time, they lacked in quality. However, the quality of products increased throughout the sprints as we got a better understanding of the scale and time. Keeping this in our mind, we become well-prepared for potential changes.
  • Collaboration improved over time – Collaboration within and across the team is crucial to achieve our overall vision of building a healthy urban LEGO city. While communication within the team was effective, we often forgot to interact with other teams. The lack of cross-team interaction hindered our common vision, ending up with a city where a primary school stands right next to a night club.
  • Shared goals mean shared success – Another thing we learned: Rather than a competition, working in an iteration-based agile frameworks ensures healthy interactions at every stage of production development.
  • Continuous improvement – At the end of each sprint, we exchanged ideas and feedback. Also, by reflecting feedback from stakeholders, this gave us a good opportunity to re-examine our strategy to reduce potential wastes and errors.

Building LEGO city using Scram technique

In a nutshell, LEGO planning games is fun, interactive and a great tool to learn about Scrum. Especially for those who are not familiar with the framework, this is the best starting point. What is more, we think that the skills – let it be team collaboration or task management – that you gained from this experience is transferable across industries and businesses.

What do you think?

Appnova is a digital agency specialising in web design, UX, eCommerce, branding, digital marketing and social media.

Keep following us on Twitter @appnova and “like” us on Facebook for useful news and tasteful digressions about geeky stuff.

 

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