Garbrand van der Molen is managing director of the agile42 Benelux office. His specialities include Product Ownership, User Experience, Marketing and Design.
In Groningen we did a Scrum Master & Team Training with Goldmund, Wyldebeast und Wunderliebe and Four Digits, as always culminating in a wonderful Lego city!
To have the people at the training really experience what it is like to work as a self organized team we end our training with a Lego city exercise. In this exercise, the people are to organize themselves to build as much as possible from the backlog in a number of 5 minute sprints, coupled with a retrospective and a planning session.
Here we see engineers at work. The backlog is broken up into Requirements and User Stories. After the Product Owner presented the overall Vision for the city, the people are to self-organize and start pulling in work from the top of the backlog, after a short estimation session.
In a couple of 5 minute sprints, the teams build, refactor and integrate their Lego creations. Many aspects of Scrum in software development are also evident in this exercise. Work is prioritized on an on-going basis and the teams pull in work from this list. After each sprint the team has some time to reflect on their previous sprint to figure out ways to improve their process.
All this hard work leads to this lovely Lego city, complete with ADSL junction box and even some flowers! Extra bonus points were of course awarded for adding the ADSL junction box, that was definitely a first for us in this training :-)
Now this might all seem like fun and games, but building this many Lego structures in 20 minutes is quite a challenge. Even more so when you have to build to the specifications of somebody else - in this case a Product Owner. Figuring out what it is that somebody else wants you to do is not an easy task, and this exercise brings that point home. Always stay in communication with the Product Owner, he is the guy (or girl) accepting or rejecting the work in the end!