I had one week to train a team to work Agile/Scrum. The goal was to establish a way of working with clear agreements, to be ready to sprint, and to create excitement. I was, thus, faced with the challenge to make the basics and key learnings stick within a short time. I used ‘The Lego Game’: A Lego simulation with the goal of teaching an Agile mindset and to experience and train Scrum rituals and roles. It lets the participants experience that in theory Scrum is easy, but in practice it is harder than it seems. The end result was not only showing everyone the challenges of Agile in practice, but also gave us some valuable insights in our team dynamics!

‘The Lego Game’ is a scrum simulation, which reveals the team dynamics and the structures that are already present. The ingredients of the game are a clear objective, limited time, an overload of options, room for continuous improvement, a bit of chaos and a lot of fun. Put all those ingredients into a pressure cooker and enjoy. The game is a safe learning environment to experiment. People can drop their guard and show their true colors because it is just a ‘game.’ There is no time to think and people have to react instinctively. This reveals the The power of gaming actual team dynamics. The learnings are based on behavior and by experiencing it first the lessons stick for long after the session.

The biggest learnings of the team in the game were: The team acted on assumptions and did not collect all the requirements. Time with the Product Owner is scarce, use it wisely. No observer in the team resulting in a lot of action, but no clear plan or structure. Overdelivering on the total user stories, however left the user stories with the highest priority unfinished. A tendency to go big. Keep it small, simple, and verify regularly. Throughout the training week the valuable insights gathered in ‘The Lego Game’ kept recurring and they helped me laying down the basics. Just one game revealed their team dynamics, their strengths and weaknesses. This gave them a head start in their own transformation. Knowing one’s own pitfalls is one thing, experiencing them is another. Gaming is the difference between saying and doing – it makes a lesson stick.

Learnings of the team:

  1. Experiencing lessons makes them stick
  2. Safe environment through simulation
  3. No time to think, thus real behavior
  4. Reveals team dynamics
  5. Fun, fun, fun!

The power of gaming

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