Luis Goncalves

LEGO Retrospective a great exercise for your Retrospective

by Dominic Krimmer
Lego Retrospective

A quite nice exercise that can be used in Agile Retrospectives is the LEGO Retrospective. Normally team members are enjoying this playful technique as they are joining a totally new creative space where they will define their improvements on an abstract layer.

If you are interested in getting some extra Agile Retrospectives exercises, I created a blog post with dozens of Agile Retrospectives Ideas, check them and see if you find something interesting.

What you can expect to get out of this exercise

The LEGO Retrospective helps teams to express their thoughts in a playful way. While you are doing this exercise you jump out of the rules of ordinary life and replace them with the rules of this game. Most members might have played LEGO® when they were kids, so motivation level normally is very high. Therefore even introvert team members who tend to speak very little have a chance to express themselves.

When you would use this exercise

If you have never been a facilitator of a retrospective before then this exercise is an easy way to start. This technique can vary from time to time, which makes it suitable in many situations.

How to do it

Before you start, get sure you have sufficient LEGO® Bricks at hand. The amount of bricks depend on the team size.

As the LEGO retrospective is a very creative exercise you should create an alternative world, a model world where team members don’t feel like in their daily environment. You should definitely change to create place. Music in the background can help to create the space even more comfortable.

Then get all team members on board by getting the agreement to the rules of that new space. The prime directive can help you by getting this agreement. As in every retrospective team members should feel and know that this round is a safe place to share opinions and thoughts although it might be risky or uncomfortable.

Now tell all team members to sit down in a circle and spread all LEGO® bricks in the middle. Start the first round by asking them:

Create a figure out of the bricks that reflects the last sprint.

Make them clear that there are no limits and that they can use as much bricks as they want. As all characters in a team are different, some members will take longer than others. Give everybody the chance to finish their first figure. Once everybody finished, give everybody to chance to tell something about his figure. Let them start doing small discussions in order to find out what exactly are the worries.

After this round, start the second round by asking them:

Create a figure out of LEGO® bricks that represents the next important step for the team in order to get better

Make everybody clear that this is a solution-based question! It’s not about what went wrong – So team members should think about a solution – Therefore, this session might take a little bit longer.

After everybody finished his figure let everybody talk about it. As a facilitator you should keep track on all information. Create Post-It’s and make them part of the environment by putting them on a wall.

Finally, it’s important to deal with the issues that where brought up. Focus the team now on the Post’It’s you wrote down and ask them what they want to do. If there are too many different points, let them make a dot-voting in order to focus on the most important issue. The team members have to leave to room feeling that they have a concrete action point they want to tackle.

With a little imagination, this exercise can be applied to remote team members also by telling them to draw a picture on a white paper instead of creating a LEGO® figure.

Did you like the post? Send me a feedback in the comments below. I would love to hear from you!

PS: Thanks to Luis for allowing me to be a guest author. Visit my blog at www.dkrimmer.de and follow me on twitter: @dkrimmer84

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Dominic Krimmer

About Dominic Krimmer

http://www.dkrimmer.de/

I have been working as a Software Developer since 2001, being a Scrum Master since 2009. So far, I had the great possibility to collect cool experiences in agile methods in different companies like CHIP, Sixt, mydriver.com and HolidayCheck

Comments

Share your point of view

  1. Hi, I really like this as an idea but can you show some examples of completed Lego from you teams. Do the teams just make a mini figure at each stage or do they use other bricks? Thanks

  2. Thanks a lot for sharing this. I really love the result we are able to get with LSP. I always enjoy reading posts/article about LSP and how to use it.
    As a gift, I would like to share with you two posts about LEGO retrospectives, I am sure you will enjoy them:

    http://goo.gl/rY6GJY
    http://goo.gl/phC04l

    And if you want to see more, here is a post about LSP applied to a job interview with video included.

    http://goo.gl/97002K

    Again, thanks for sharing this and enjoy the gift.
    Take care,
    Omar

  3. My questions:
    1) how do you deal with the fact that the retrospective must be timeboxed?
    2) Why use Lego in retrospective and not in other steps (Sprint plannig) ?
    However I’m interested in deep this matter

  4. This is typically the kind of activities that you can learn and practice during a #play14 event.

    #play14 London has just finished, and there we played with LEGO and also Story Cubes for retrospectives, but also for innovation, team building and so many other things.

    It’s really a great way for people to let go and be more creative.

  5. Hola Luis, me gustaría saber cuanto tiempo aproximadamente se debe considerar para cada ejercicio. Dado que es una retro de un sprint de 2 semanas, tengo como máximo 2 horas.

    Gracias por tu pronta respuesta.

  6. I’ve run something like this a few times where I work. Once we got beyond the ‘you want us to play with Lego,’ faces they were lost in building stuff with Lego with great success.

    A word of caution however. I would suggest facilitators be mindful of connecting teams to the fun they had as children with Lego could also surface some deeper stuff they’ve consciously or sub-consciously chosen to park in a dark corner of their mind(s). This calls on the skill of the facilitiator to be able to be able to hold any individual in a safe space. I had someone unravel for some reasons I’ll not disclose. I cancelled my meetings booked after the retro to bordlerline counsel this person out of rough seas to calmer waters. It’s likely an exception, but it can happen.

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