Scrum LEGO simulation agile game: Build a Plane

This is an agile game to use Lego blocks to build a product in teams using iterations. It can be used in companies, school, university and any place to teach agility and Scrum.

Materials and objects needed

Elementary objects and tools:

  • 500 lego basic blocks can be used up to 4 teams / 20 people.
  • Sticky notes.
  • Printed Story cards:
  • Sticky notes instead of printed Story cards: Alternative to the story cards, you can tell the title of the card and business value to the teams and they should write in post its. I actually prefer that.

Also is nice and fun to have another object for creativity and combine with legos:

  • Paper of different colors.
  • Scissors.
  • Pen of different colors.
  • Adhesive tape.
  • Glue.
  • You can also provide a Scrum sprint checklist to each team.

 

 

 

 

Game Introduction

  • Review Scrum flow, roles, and User Stories if necessary.
  • Divide into teams of 3-7 people. One facilitator can manage from 2 to 4 teams.
    • Option 1: They will have to build their own organization inside the team. They may decide the structure and roles and figure at some point or retro out that they need a PO and SM.
    • Option 2: another option is to tell them to have a PO or SM in the team.
  • Tell them to talk amongst themselves for 5 minutes, find things in common and pick a team name.
  • Each team should write their team name on a board.
  • Explain the rules of the game.

Rules of the game

  • Vision: Build the best and most beautiful plane in the market using Lego blocks.
  • Facilitator role: You are the customer. You are not the Product Owner. The team has the product ownership.
  • The number of sprints: 7 or 8 sprints.
  • Sprints timebox: 5 minutes.
  • Business value: Each story has a business value, that means how important is the story for the client and to success in their business. The client has provided the business value as requested.
  • Definition of Done: Nothing is accepted unless the client has accepted it.
  • Goal: To maximize the Return on Investment of the client. That is to maximize the business value per effort applied in each sprint.

Facilitator Tips

  • Customer: You are the customer, not the product owner.
    • You can act as you do not know anything about Scrum.
    • You just provided what you want and
  • Secret Acceptance Criteria: Acceptance criteria for each story are provided below but DO NOT provide any Acceptance Criteria details unless teams ask for more details! The Acceptance Criteria will be hidden and only available to the trainer. The participants need to ask to know about each AC. Why? Because:
    • As a customer, you think that those details are obvious to you and for everyone.
    • Or you never thought about any details until they asked you.

Note: Usually teams start building things without asking for acceptance criteria, the objective with this is to learn how important is to discuss and confirm the requirements and how frustrating can be to put effort into building something that looks good but nobody wants.

  • Done criteria: You are the only one that can approve a story as done. If a team did something awesome but it is not aligned with the acceptance criteria, do not approve and do not let them convince you.
  • Questions during the game: Tell the participants that they can ask you for more details if they want.
    • The trainer will limit their answer as much as possible only answering exactly what it has been asked. Sometimes may act as he/she does not like a feature unless the participants ask “why” or “how would you like it to be?”
    • Sometimes the trainers will not answer questions to the participants (telling them something like “I am busy right now”). This is to increase the complexity of the exercise.
  • Sprint timebox: check the time of the sprint. It is good to display a timer in a screen.

Start the game

  • Sprint 1
    • Provide a set of story cards marked as sprint 1 to each team. Or just tell them the requirements and business value so they write in post-its
  • Sprint 2: Provide a set of cards marked as sprint 2 to each team.
    • Tell them that you have some new great ideas and that the business value of some stories changed.
  • Sprint 3: Provide a set of cards marked as sprint 3 to each team.
    • Tell them that you have more new ideas or that some other business values changed.
  • Sprint 4: continue as usual.
  • At the end of each sprint:
    • Do a sprint review and demo of the product so each team can show you the product increment. Provide feedback on which items you like and do not like (according to secret acceptance criteria)
    • You may pause the game to force teams to do a quick retrospective if they are skipping it.
  • After sprint 4 or 5 stop the game before the expected 7-8 sprints.
    • News: Tell the teams that you have some news, a competitor just came to the market with a similar product and we need to finish the project earlier than expected and go to the market.
  • Final Demo:
    • The teams must put their products together and visible.
    • The teams must separate the stories they claim to be done.
    • For each team review each story and summarize the business value of the stories that you only accept as done. Preferably in a board.
    • The value done by each team will be summarized.
  • Conclusions: Tell the teams to share their thoughts and conclusions with all the participants.
    • Tell that although not all the requirements are done, we have a working product ready for production that has most of the value with the minimum effort.

Backlog

Story Sprint Business Value (Secret) Acceptance Criteria

Only for the facilitator – Provide when asked for more details only.

Windows 1 10 4 windows. visible through the windows.
cockpit 1 3 pilot can see to the front
logo 1 3 on the wings, visible from above and below, must have a capital letter
door 1 3 must be an open vertical rectangle, should allow another block to go through
landing gear 1 3 with wheels, wheels must be round
hangar 1 4 must cover the plane completely without deforming it; may be made of other materials
flag 1 4 country flag on the tail
flaps 1 5 in both wings and in the tail, on the wing flaps, must show an angle with the rest of the wing
pilot 1,2 Sprint 1: 4

Sprint 2: 8

must be attached to the plane
be a transformer 1,2 Sprint 1: 7

Sprint 2: 10

just Decepticon logo, transform action is not required
name 2 7 must have three letters, and be readable in Spanish or English, catchy name wins an extra point
colors 2 5 cannot have yellow ( the main competitor uses yellow). Also yellow is bad luck everybody knows that!
aerodynamic 2 2 must fly 1m and stay together after landing
tail 2,3 Sprint 2: 2

Sprint 3: 5

must be red and taller than the rest of the plane
wings 3 12 2 hands total ending in an arrow shape
symmetric 3 6 colors, shape, logos, all
fixed number of pieces 3 6 must use all the pieces. Yellow pieces are not required though.

Authors

Have fun!

Ignacio

 

Ignacio Paz

Agile Manager - Solution Manager in Velocity Partners / Chief Professor in “Agile Methodologies” / Professor in Systems Design / CSP / Ignacio has more than 17 years of experience in the Software industry.