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Everytime me and Danilo presented the Lean Lego Game, the common phrase we heard from the participants was

 We want to make this process better!

so for some time we had thought it creating a similar game focused only in continuous improvement, which would allow attendees to learn about improvement principles and practices while having some fun with Lego bricks : )

 

This idea has turned into reality in the format of the Kaizen Lego Game, which was presented for the first time at Agile 2011 in SaltLake City, earlier this year. Unfortunately Danilo couldn’t make it, but I was lucky enough to have Pat Kua as the substitute, helping me a lot with all the work involved in it.

 

Keeping the same format as the original one, the idea behind this workshop was to create an immersive environment where we could introduce continuous improvement principles and practices while improving a small Lego production line. Amongst the topics we focused during the workshop were:

  •  Kaizen
  • Value Stream Mapping
  • Inventory
  • Waste
  • Standards & Improvement
  • Cycle Time
  • 5 Whys
  • Cumulative Flow Diagram (CFD)

I was quite pleased with the result for the first time we presented it. The attendance was very good and we had great positive feedback (and also suggestions for improvements, which were great!).

Want to run it yourself ?

As with the Lean Lego Game, all the material to run the workshop is available through a Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial license. If you are interested, feel free to run and adapt it, as long as we get given the appropriate credit and that you don’t use it for commercial purposes. We also would appreciate receiving some feedback on how it worked out for you.

We have created a package containing all you need to try it out in your environment, including:

  •  Facilitator’s Guide: instructions on how to run the workshop
  • Print material: instructions for participants and worksheets using during the activity
  • Slides

Just get in touch via email to request it!

Kaizen Lego Game by Francisco Trindade & Danilo Sato is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial 3.0 Unported License.

 

In August this year (I know, a long time ago…) I had the opportunity to be in Salt Lake City for the Agile 2011 conference. It  was the  second Agile conference in the US I’ve attended, and I have to say Im quite pleased with the results.

The venue itself was very appropriate for the event, using two hotels just across the street from each other. Despite having session rooms spread in a large area, it was easy to move between them and there was lots of options of place for sitting down between sessions and talk with other participants, which is always one of my favourite parts in a conference. The Open Jam space was one of the great points for me, with lots of people hanging out there at any given time.

As the biggest conference I’ve ever been, the number of sessions was quite overwhelming. Having to choose one between 18 tracks is always hard, giving you a constant feeling of missing out. It’s one of the good problems to have though, and the quality of the sessions was very good, including two great keynotes. I will be writing up about the sessions I’ve attended soon and also about the one I’ve presented (watch this space).

In general, besides listening to great new ideas, going to conferences like this always works as a refresher for me. It’s good to have some of the old ideas repeated to you, it definitely makes me realise a lot of things I could be doing better but had just gone out of my radar for one reason or another.


					

This week I will be participating for the first time at Agile Australia. Have heard lots of good things about it, so I am quite interested in presenting and also looking around what’s being presented. Besides meeting lots of interesting people, which is a given in conferences : )

We will be presenting the Lean Lego Game, which introduces Lean concepts using a fun and entertaining activity. This game was already presented at Agile US and XP Europe, but it’s the first time we are doing it in Australia.

Since Danilo couldn’t come (Australia is still far away from everything…), this time I will be presenting with Fabio Pereira, who has kindly agreed to help me. Everything is quite exciting since we made some changes to it based on feedback we’ve got, so we’re quite keen to see how it goes!

If you are around, please come join us on Thursday morning, and hopefully you will get something out of it. If you do, don’t forget to let us know your opinions.

And in case you don’t know it already, the game is distributed under the Creative Commons license. In case you want to run it in your company or some other group, we have all the material ready to help you, and are happy to distribute it.

At TWU XX, me, Mark and Jim were usually trying to come up with ways to deliver the content we needed without boring anyone to death.

As typical Gen-Y students, the new TWers from our term had a very short attention span, and would (correctly!) reject any topic that wasn’t of their interest, which made us come up with different formats in order to try to make everything interesting.

In this case, it all started when we had to deliver a presentation on a new concept and a challenge was made:

How fast can you deliver this presentation so we can go back to coding ?

As proud trainers that we were, we took the bait and stated that we could deliver a 1.5 hr session in 10 mins. It doesn’t need to be said that we didn’t do it, but from that experiment we started a new format of sessions, based on very short feedback loops.

The idea was to deliver the sessions in 10 min chunks, asking for feedback and adapting every time, in a process like this:

  1. Ask every student to raise their hand describing how confident they were in the subject we wanted to talk about. They could show any number btw 1 (not confident at all) to 5 (I should be delivering this session, not you!).
  2. Have a timeboxed 10 min presentation on the topic
  3. Have the students voting again and question them about what they weren’t understanding or doubts they still had.
  4. Do it again

We repeated that process until everyone was voting around 3 or 4.
I was quite satisfied with the result. We managed to get a lot of good feedback during the sessions, which is usually hard, and also wouldn’t have to (or couldn’t) prepare to much, since we didn’t know which direction the presentation would take.

In some cases the first 10 minutes were a complete disaster, with everyone saying that they didn’t learn anything, but since we were stopping and discussing it, we were able to change direction (sometimes by changing the presenter :P) and fix it.
In addition to that, we did finish most of the presentations that were usually done in 1.5hrs in less than 30 min, which is always good to hear :)

If you are running an informal (or even formal) session, I would definitely recommend this format. Im sure you will get surprised about what you hear!

Next month, Me and Danilo Sato will be presenting the Lego Lean Game ate XP 2009, which will be held in Sardinia.

So, what is it?

The Lego Lean Game is an activity developed to teach people about the basic concepts of Lean thinking in a dynamic and fun way, demonstrating Lean practices in an imaginary production line to build Lego houses.

Why?

The idea came from the fact that Lean is becoming a common term in software development, but many people haven’t been introduced to the concepts that made it successful. This workshop aims at introducing this concepts to the participants, making them understand where Lean comes from, and why apply them in the software world.

Should I Come?

If you are interested in Lean, but haven’t had time to study about it, this is the perfect place for you. More experienced people are also welcome, since the hands-on activity makes you discover many aspects that might have been missed before.

If you want to have a better idea of how it is, you can check this video (sorry for the shaky camera : ) ), from the presentation we made at Agiles 2008.

Hope to see you there!

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