As an agile coach I also show Scrummasters how to conduct various forms of retrospectives. I think most of us know the usual way to do it with stickies and ask everyone to write down what went well and where there is room for improvement. It is vital to the scrum process to do retrospectives, as there is always room for improvement. But when you do the same trick over and over again things tend to get boring and before you know it, the retro is out of the window and with it any chance to improve and the first step in breaking scrum is set.
So I like to experiment and lately I incorporate Lego into the retrospective and I would like to provide you with some insights in how it works.
First, just by providing everybody with the latest Star Wars Lego box and ask them how the last sprint wend isn’t going to do the trick. You need to get people into a storytelling mode and thinking in metaphors. So I start by just a few basic techniques to get them to play and build. Then when they are telling and thinking in fantasy models and metaphors, I pose just one or two questions. Not how everything was in the last sprint but more, for example, how everyone perceived communication or collaboration. So I pose some bigger questions. The results are very insightful. Every team member has something to say and it is also easily shared. Lego Serious Play combined with Scrum or Kanban meetings also has one other big advantage. People remember. You have to know that when people use their hands while talking, new neurological connections are made in the brain. What is said is, so to speak, fixed visually in the mind.
I have found that it’s a very powerful way to do talks and therefore also retrospectives. It is a little difficult to just explain how it should work in details. Keep in mind that it is serious play and that there is a complete methodology behind the technique. But I can recommend finding a facilitator and trying it for a change. I guarantee that it provides new insight and ideas. And in the least it is a lot of fun and a little bit teambuilding won’t harm a bit.
You might want to do it yourself but beware that just buying a few bricks isn’t going to get the results you might like. You must know that next to an agile coach I’m also a Certified Lego Serious Play Facilitator and this means that I know how to conduct complex workshops and think tanks using this methodology from Lego. Because I know how to get people to talk with their hands using the bricks, for me it is very easy to adapt this to a Scrum retrospective.