At Scrum Gathering we presented a lego game that we use to teach prospective clients about agile projects. We’ve run this game twice internally and once with live clients. There’s quite a detailed structure below, but running the game involves a lot of improvisation; really, it’s about throwing up the same set of obstacles both times, and showing how an agile approach makes them less painful.
- Box of lego
- Specification document
- Pile of story cards
- Pile of fake cash
One trainer, 3-6 players
Run 1: Waterfall
Estimation phase (2 mins)
Give the players the Specification. Ask them to agree on an estimate (2 mins). Then ignore the estimate and write the actual phase timings (10 min / 2 min) on the Specification.
Build phase (10 mins)
Give the players some of the lego bricks and ask them to start building. Halfway through the build phase, give them the rest of the lego bricks. Two minutes before the end, announce that the deadline has been shortened by one minute. Make the process of getting answers to questions difficult and time-consuming - for example, questions and answers must be in writing. Stand on the other side of the room.
Acceptance testing (2 mins)
Look for symmetry, colourscheme, size, etc. Find some defects:
- Wheels? ("it's a plane.. how will it land? you should have inferred it from the specification")
- Pick a colour (eg red) that's retrospectively not allowed ("it's not in the spec? But we never use red. Marketing hates it.")
- Announce an "emergency rebuild, since the project is late".
Emergency rebuild (2 mins)
Add up fines for defects at £100M per minute late (which is actually wrong, and may provoke contract arguments), and £50M per defect. Hand over the remaining cash.
Run 2: Scrum
Initial planning (2 mins)
Join the players. You’ll be playing as both SM and PO. Hand them the story cards, along with a statement of vision. Help them move the cards into swim lanes and write estimates on them, then plan the first 3-minute sprint.
Sprint 1 (3 mins)
As soon as a player reaches for a red brick, stop them - no red in the project.