LEGO Scrum

LEGO Scrum is a simple workshop in which people that are new to Scrum learn some techniques and find reasons for Scrum ceremonies. You are going to read a custom variation of the Scrum LEGO game for one small group. It is basically based on this paper: Simulation with Bricks.

Pre-game requirements

To start and successfully finish the workshop you will need

  • Timebox of 120 minutes
  • Group of 4-6 people
  • One Lego box (with at least 200 parts)
  • Stickers, flip chart paper sheets, markers
  • Planning poker cards (or hand-made ones)
  • Whiteboard or another place you can draw charts on

LEGO Scrum Introduction

As a workshop facilitator, you will be playing the Product Owner role. First of all, you need to communicate group following things:

  • All of them will be building a single product, so they need to cooperate.
  • The product is a City.
  • You are the main decision-maker of the product – it is your city.
  • The main building elements are LEGO blocks. But they can use any other material in addition.
  • You will continuously answer questions and provide feedback.
  • Your role is newbie Product Owner, so you might make some Scrum mistakes.
  • There is no Scrum Master that can coach them during the game (unless they convince someone to help them).
LEGO Scrum
LEGO Scrum City made on one of my workshops.


After the introduction you should also tell players that game will take around 2 hours and will have the following points:

  1. Information about game rules (already done)
  2. Product kick-off
  3. Building the Backlog (15m)
  4. Estimating (30 min)
  5. First Sprint (timeboxed to 15 min)
    1. Sprint Planning (3 min)
    2. Sprinting (7 min)
    3. Sprint Reviewing (5 min)
  6. Second Sprint (15 min)
  7. Third Sprint (15 min)
  8. Debrief and game retrospective (30 min)

Building the LEGO Scrum Backlog

This should take 15 minutes. It is a time when you present the features of the city. A good way of doing that is by showing a team pre-prepared set of sticky notes hanging on a wall. You can include whatever you would like to have inside the city. Here is a list I use:

  1. One storey buildings (5 of them, put each on 1 sticky note)
  2. Two storey buildings (3 of them, put each on 1 sticky note)
  3. Shop
  4. School
  5. Church
  6. Hospital
  7. Bus stop (2 of them)
  8. Road (can be drawn)
  9. Park (can be drawn)
  10. River (can be drawn)
  11. Bridge
  12. Military base (this might appear in the 2nd sprint)

Students should estimate all Backlog Items, with any technique they are familiar with (planning poker, or swimlanes estimation). You should prepare empty burndown chart on the whiteboard and also prepare TODO / IN PROGRESS / DONE board for them.

Running the First Sprint

You will run 3 Sprints in this game. Every single one will have three checkpoints

  • Planning which will take 3 minutes. It is basically an event on which the team chooses what they think they would like to build now. They should put stick notes to the TODO column.
  • Sprinting will take 7 minutes. This time seems to be low compared to planning but it is enough to build several items. To make sure all players have stressed it is a good idea to show a big visible stopwatch.
  • Reviewing will take 5 minutes. When the time is up, you have to make sure everyone really stop building things and start demanding: “Where is my city?”. Check the Kanban board. Move unfinished items back to the Backlog. Go through every single story and either accept it to decline it. In most cases I accept only a few things after the first sprint because after I am shown the buildings, I am nitpicking:

I like the symmetry.
I like one color buildings.
Buildings are either too small, too big, or too diverse.
Windows of different floors are not lined up.

Mac revieving the City built in the first Sprint of the LEGO Scrum

Later on, you should update the Release Burndown chart, and explain what your forecast is. I always make a clear and loud announcement that the release has to be done in three sprints (so there are only two left) and now it looks like we will not be able to accomplish all stories. A few minutes can be spent on retrospecting on the topic of “how can we make it better the next sprint?”.

Running the Second Sprint

During this sprint, the team should do way better. They probably clarified the Acceptance Criteria of buildings. They probably eliminated impediments and are delivering high-quality bildings. Feel free to announce that you are going on vacation, and leave the room for half the planning time.

Running the Third Sprint

If the team deals surprisingly good with stories I like to toss new urgent Item to the Backlog (for instance put “Military base” sticker on a wall, and explain that Zombie apocalypse is coming, so the City without the base is no good). 

LEGO Scrum City

LEGO Scrum Release and Debrief

After finishing all Sprints you should prepare Release of your City. Finish the Burndown chart and see how much work is still not done. Sit together and think about those topics:

  1. What did the students observe?
  2. What should take more time what less?
  3. How accurate were the estimations?
  4. What would they have done differently?
  5. What do they think about the Product Owner?
  6. How did it feel to not deliver in the Sprint?
  7. Do they need a Scrum Master? What for?
  8. What did they learn?