Recently, I conducted a fun Lego Retrospective and in this article, I will share my insights.
Learn how to build a strong team by becoming a Brickmaster yourself through the use of Lego in the workplace.
The Sprint Retrospective is a crucial event in the Scrum framework, held at the end of our bi-weekly sprint. During this event, the team reflects on the sprint, identifying what worked well, what could be improved, and agreeing on concrete actions to implement in the next sprint. To keep things fresh and ensure specific questions are properly addressed, different formats are used for each Retrospective, including the recent Lego Retrospective.
Why and when?
Serious Play is a process that uses Lego bricks to help participants explore specific topics or questions in depth. In this method, the facilitator poses a question and each participant builds a model using Lego bricks. These models serve as a foundation for further discussions, problem-solving, decision-making, and knowledge exchange.
The use of Lego bricks in a work setting may seem unusual, but it is a powerful tool for facilitating retrospectives. Through building something physical, participants are able to think with their hands and take ownership of their own vision and construction. Additionally, by listening carefully to each other, a pleasant and constructive collaboration can arise. Lego Serious Play can be used in a variety of situations, such as team building, problem-solving, and decision-making.
Reflection is important for individuals and teams to grow and improve. The use of Lego Serious Play in a Retrospective is just one example, but there are many other opportunities to use it.
Lego Serious Play can be used for:
- Team building
- Developing solutions to problems
- Strategy development
- Creating a shared mindset
- Understanding different perspectives
- Facilitating effective and constructive discussions where everyone is heard
- Unleashing creative thinking
According to Lego:
|The LEGO SERIOUS PLAY methodology is based on the belief that everyone can contribute to the discussion, the decisions and the outcome.
The LEGO pieces act as a catalyst: when used to build metaphors, they trigger processes you probably weren't aware of before.
Participants in the workshops develop skills to communicate more effectively, to use their imagination better and more often and to devote themselves to their work with more confidence, involvement and insights.
The concept of Lego Serious Play consists of four elements: process, bricks, participant etiquette, and facilitator behavior.
Process: The process should be clear and simple, making it easy to facilitate, participate in, understand, and timebox. It should have clear phases, each with their own time limits, to create the right context and help participants understand the purpose of the retrospective. Our retrospective had three phases: question/challenge, build, share/reflect. We repeated the phases twice, asking a slightly different question the second time.
Bricks: Provide enough Lego bricks with different shapes such as building elements, animals, accessories, mini-figs, etc. These bricks are used to create models that represent the thoughts or ideas of the participants. Because someone can only make one model, this is probably what that person finds important at that moment. The model is a means and not an end in itself, it helps to reflect and express yourself.
Participant etiquette: The facilitator explains to the participants what the intention is. The participants are given a certain number of minutes to think about the facilitator’s question and to create a model based on this question. This model is the answer to the facilitator’s question and is therefore different for each participant. When the building time is up, each participant tells something about the built model and how this is an answer to the facilitator’s question. The model is a personal answer from the builder, and this answer is narrowed down to what the builder finds most relevant. It is important that every builder has a say and explains their model, as everyone is part of the same team. By expressing their vision based on their built model, participants can reflect in a fun way and start a constructive dialogue. This method ensures that every team member actively participates.
Facilitator behavior: The facilitator should ask the question to the participants, keep an eye on the time, and make it clear to the participants that all available Lego can be used and that there is no minimum or maximum and no right or wrong. The facilitator should ensure that everyone has their say and that everyone listens carefully. It is important that a clear question is asked, on the basis of which the participants can build their models. The facilitator should keep the session on topic and flow naturally arises by signaling when a discussion becomes too long, and guiding the participants back to the ultimate goal of the session.
Can it also be done remotely?
Lego Serious Play can also be done remotely, but it does present some challenges. All participants would need to have enough Lego bricks at their remote work location and have good quality webcams. The 3D visual effect is limited to the participant’s own structure and not the group’s. It can be more difficult to follow the progress of team members and there is less group inspiration. Additionally, it can be harder to respond to each other when discussing the models because of delays in online meetings. These challenges can make the session less effective, which is why it is best to conduct these visual and interactive sessions when the team members are physically together.
In conclusion, our team had a great experience with our Lego Retrospective. It was a fun and unique way to reflect on our work and we will definitely do it again. If you’re interested in trying out a Lego Retrospective for your team, don’t hesitate to reach out for assistance in designing your own session.