by Stan Kurkovsky, email@example.com, @SKurkovsky
Scrum is an agile iterative software development methodology in which a team of software developers works in well defined increments (sprints). Each sprint typically results in adding new features to the software product. LEGO SERIOUS PLAY has been successfully adapted both for team building and as a tool for conducting sprint retrospectives in Scrum software development projects. A retrospective is a meeting of the entire development team facilitated by the Scrum Master and conducted at the end of each sprint, during which the team reflects on the past sprint and answers two key questions: what went well and what can be improved during the next sprint? If applied properly, LEGO SERIOUS PLAY can make sprint retrospectives more productive by getting people to discuss their experiences in the last sprint more openly and communicate their ideas in a more constructive way.
It is relatively easy to make the development team members to communicate with each other since they all work on the same project on the daily basis, and they most likely share a similar background and experience in various aspects of software development. However, ensuring clear communication between the Scrum team and the product owner is not always an easy goal to achieve. A product owner is typically a lead user of the software being developed. The main responsibility of the product owner is to establish a clear vision for the product being built, which is accomplished by writing project specification in the form of prioritized user stories. In practice, a product owner does not always understand the problems the developers may be facing in order to build what the product owner wants. And vice versa, the developers may not always have a clear idea of what the product owner really needs. This situation is perfectly illustrated in this infamouscomic.
Lego Serious Play workshop done with IFITT Board in Lugano (Switzerland) 2.2.2015.
The workshop has been facilitated by dr. Stefano Tardini and Elisabetta Decarli-Frick, of the eLab of the Università della Svizzera italiana (see: www.seriousplay.ch).
I think some of you have already seen these on Twitter and Linkedin, but I dont think that I have ever posted them on seriousplaypro. Thus, here are two recent podcasts where I talk about LEGO SERIOUS PLAY. One is from this week, one is from 2014
I had the honour of working with Deutsche Welle Akademie at the end of last year on what for me was an interesting and important challenge:
How do you create a global manifesto on information sharing and freedom of expression with participants from 14 different countries, when each has with their own culturally valid and particular way of doing things and seeing things?
There were many challenges when deciding to do this work. There was a postal strike in South Africa and all my LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® starter kits I had ordered went missing. I had ten kits I had been working with but certainly not the beautiful, pristine white boxes which included a manual and some comfortable and easy building starts.
A challenge in itself coupled with the fact that only 4 hours had been set aside to do this. When I started working in LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® I was an absolute purist. I would only do work which lasted a day at the very least. I was turning away a lot of business… so I decided I would eat my own cooking and try and be agile. I agreed to the assignment not knowing whether four hours could ever be enough to achieve what they needed.
It was not only possible, it was a huge success. Here is the feedback:
“Elaine designed and executed a very clever and creative program using LEGO Serious Play that helped us to achieve our goal – crafting a set of principles to foster freedom of expression. Moreover, with colleagues from 14 different countries, LEGO became a common language and generated ideas that may have remained unearthed in a more traditional workshop methodology. Our delegates were hugely impressed!”
Steffen Leidel – Editor onMedia, Deutsche Welle Akademie
I wanted to share with you how and why it worked and give you some insights into how you, too can do this kind of process in a very short period of time.
Three months ago I stumbled upon a question which needed an answer: Could Lego be used for business strategy development? I just had to go to London to find out the answer.
With a group of 12 I spent the full weekend.. building Lego! When was the last time I did that? (hint: some 30 years ago..). The real interesting part is of course the stories we tell about the models. Each time we do, the team moves closer towards a shared understanding and also generate new insights. That’s cool!
Below: Team members walking through our shared model.