Agile Lego Game is a very famous and easy to understand workshop that helps introduce teams to agile way of project delivery. This is the same agile lego game but with a twist of distributed environment and a larger team. This workshop uncovers the challenges of scaling agile in a distributed environment. Teams learn how to solve problems like team collaboration, client interaction, balance between offshore and onshore work, etc. 

This workshop is ideal for large project/program teams where often offshore team is not involved in important aspects of the delivery. It will help people understand that how important role of both the teams is. This workshop will also touch on the planning aspect of distributed projects like velocity difference between offshore and onshore team, co-ordination time between teams, turn around time for queries, etc. and how to factor these in the project plan.

This game or workshop will help team understand what are the typical mistakes they do in distributed delivery model and how to rectify those mistakes. This is a fun way of learning distributed scaled agile development.

I have facilitated this game multiple times for organisations transforming to agile and scaling their distributed agile teams. 

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Outline/structure of the Session

Participants will be divided in three or four teams. Each team will have two groups (onshore and offshore) and a customer. 

Each team will work on a project (Building an animal from legos). Customers will give teams user stories, teams will estimate, plan and implement stories over 3 iterations. After each iteration, customer will sign off user stories after the showcase, there will be a retro after each iteration to see how team is progressing. 

Until here it sounds like a typical agile project, but the team in this workshop will be distributed. Only onshore team can talk to the client because of the time difference.Hence, onshore team will have to coordinate stuff between client and offshore team. Team communication is a key here. Through out the workshop key learnings will be captured and summarized in the end. 

Distributed team set up will be simulated by keeping onshore and offshore teams at different corners of the room. Teams can communicate by passing paper or post it notes to simulate emails and calls.


Learning Outcome

How to scale distributed agile?

What are the challenges faced by distributed team?

How to better coordinate and collaborate with offshore team without impacting project timelines?

How to keep offshore team involved in all the aspects inspite of them getting very less client time?

Target Audience

Project Managers, Program Managers, Developers, Scrum Masters, BAs, Product Owners and QAs. Ideal for folks who are part of larger distributed teams.

schedule Submitted 2 years ago

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  • Ashay Saxena
    By Ashay Saxena  ~  2 years ago
    reply Reply

    Hi Tabassum,


    I see that a lot of effort has been put in to ideate upon the specifics of conducting the workshop. Thanks for that.

    I believe that it would be interesting if you could be a bit more specific on the target audience. Ideally, you would require a good mix of managers, developers, BAs and QAs in order to create 'even' looking teams. Also, you can be a bit more specific to suggest that the simulated environment will resemble a classic services engagement (where mostly the onsite representatives handle the customer side of things) or a product development scenario (where there is more scope for open communication between teams at various sites and "customer" {read: proxy}).




    • Tabassum
      By Tabassum  ~  2 years ago
      reply Reply

      Hi Ashay,

      I have updated the proposal. Please let me know your thoughts.


  • Hugo Messer
    By Hugo Messer  ~  2 years ago
    reply Reply

    Hi Tabassum, thanks for the submission. First of all, if you allow and the proposal gets accepted, I'd be happy to co-facilitate this workshop :). I am regularly doing the lego game in my scrum trainings. And my colleagues have done the distributed setup before. 

    Few points that I wonder about while reading:

    1. How are you going to organize/simulate the distribution? 2 rooms? Separation? 
    2. would we need video conferencing or other means of communication for the onshore-offshore communication? If they speak directly, will it truly show the complexity of distribution?
    3. What's the scaling aspect here? If we have 3-4 teams, it's a rather small setup. 
    4. I read that most talks/workshops get 75 people as the conference is large. (How) could you scale this up to 75 people?
    5. Would you bring your own lego (as you didn't describe lego in the requirements)?
    6. If we're doing agile, why do you propose to have no communication between offshore team and client? 
    7. I would be curious to read/see some more details on how you coordinate everything. What happens in each sprint? How do we build the backlog? Who's the product owner? Do we have 1 or multiple? etc... more details on the setup.

    Hope that helps, let me know what you think



    • Tabassum
      By Tabassum  ~  2 years ago
      reply Reply

      Hi Hugo,

      To answer your questions:-

      1. Distributed set up will be two corners in the same room. Teams will have to simulate that they are talking over phone or video conference.

      2. Onshore and offshore teams will not be allowed to develop at the same time. One team will start only after the other ends. This will simulate the time zone difference. And we have to keep it to the team how they communicate. Passing details on piece of paper would simulate an email. Sending someone to the other side will be the onsite visit, etc.

      3. 30 to 35 people can participate in 3-4 teams and rest can be the audience. 10 to 12 people for lego game is a big team, which would cover the scaling aspect along with distributed. It is usually 4 people in the traditional agile lego game team.

      4. Same as above.

      5. I did mention box of lego blocks.

      6. This is just a simulation. Initially customers will be reluctant to talk to offshore team because of the time difference but teams will have to convince him/her. I am not sure if you have seen my ppt in the notes of the retro slide I have mentioned the point of negotiating with customer to give time during offshore team's hours.Again in the distributed agile learning slide I have mentioned a point customer face time with offshore team where we can briefly talk how important it is.

      7. Customers will be given the entire set of stories, which is the backlog. Teams will (should) negotiate with customers on what can go in every iteration and finally what can be released after 3 iterations. This is where customer engagement and negotiation comes into play which will be discussed in the debriefing. Customers will be selected or rather volunteered from the participants. They will be briefed in the start. There will be one product owner/customer per team. 

      Please let me know if you need any more details. 



      • Hugo Messer
        By Hugo Messer  ~  2 years ago
        reply Reply

        Hi Tabassum, thanks for the reply. I recommend adding (parts of) your answer as description in the proposal, to enrich it. The more details, the better for the committee to judge. I hope it gets accepted as it looks like an interesting setup :). 

        • Tabassum
          By Tabassum  ~  2 years ago
          reply Reply

          Hi Hugo

          Thanks for the feedback.

          I have updated the proposal, please let me know your thoughts.

  • Madhavi Ledalla
    By Madhavi Ledalla  ~  2 years ago
    reply Reply

    Hi Tabassum,  thank you for your submission. The Lego game is all time favourite for everyone.   Can you please help me with these two questions? 1) Can you please upload slides or a 2 min video of any of your previous talks so that the committee can consider your proposal?  2) Since Agile 2017 is a big conference, can you please help us understand if there is any maximum limit on the number of participants that you can accommodate for this session? Thank you.

    • Tabassum
      By Tabassum  ~  2 years ago
      reply Reply

      Hi Madhavi,

      1. Slideshare link added to the proposal. Please download the presentation to see the notes.
      2. 30 to 35 people can participate in the workshop and others can be audience.