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Agile Retrospectives with LEGO

by Susanne Donner
in How We Do It

Playing with LEGO within a business context may sound a bit weird. LEGO Serious Play was invented as a playful method to help organizations with creative thinking, prototyping and problem solving. As an agile company, we wondered if this approach could help us in retrospectives with our agile development teams.

In retrospectives, the team comes together to learn from the past for the future. And ideally, the process improves continuously in bits and pieces.

The typical agenda of a retrospective looks something like this:

  1. Intro / warm-up (and possibly review actions from previous retrospectives)
  2. Review last iteration / collect data
  3. Cluster and prioritize data
  4. Decide on actions
  5. Conclusion

If you frequently conduct retrospectives, you might find that teams get tired of retros. There are several methods that can be used to loosen them up and diversify them. At mobile.de, we thought about using LEGO Serious Play for our retrospectives.

Here are some ideas how it might help during the different steps:

  1. Intro / Warm up
  • Build how you feel (with max. 3 Legos)
  • Build a wish for someone in your team (appreciation)
  • Build a model of yourself
  1. Collect data
  • Build the biggest challenge from the last weeks
  • Build a feeling / a situation from the last weeks
  • Build your team vs. build the ideal team

For the steps 3–5, we still use classic methods.

Keep in mind that it is not just about having fun. Every team member should build something and then explain it. In the discussions that follow, we try to figure out the common ground as well as distinctive features.