Author Archives: nuno borges

LEGO Team Building

Timing: 90 mins

Materials (per team):

Game Background:

The city is planning a huge architectural project, but in order to select the most qualified builder they are hosting an event that will challenge each company’s ability to work quickly, efficiently and successfully under pressure. The event is a LEGO CONSTRUCTION competition!

Instructions & Team Building: (90 mins total)

Room Setup (5 mins)

  1. Book a large boardroom that can accommodate 15-25 people in 5 person teams
  2. Ask teams to break into groups of 5
  3. Give each team a LEGO set and a blindfold
  4. Convey the instructions below to them

Game Setup & Instructions (5 mins)

  1. The objective of the game is to build a LEGO set within a limited timeframe and with zero defects
  2. Each of the 5 people on a team have a unique role to play in this effort (we’ll get back to that after)
  3. You will have 15 minutes to discuss a strategy, put a plan together, and(pick who will be in each role
  4. Everyone moves to their assigned locations and the puzzle is revealed
  5. Everyone has 40 minutes to complete the puzzle, with a mini-retrospective half-way, after which role assignments cannot be changed
  6. Review the Game Roles below, and pay special attention to everyone’s Handicap
  7. After 20 minutes of gameplay, the LEGO assembly team will have a 10 minute lunch to discuss strategy. The observer will be important at this point because they will have had a chance to observe both their team and others as well.
  8. NOBODY, except for the Builder, is allowed to assemble any 2 LEGO pieces at ANY point in time

Plan a Strategy (15 mins)

  • Participants are allowed to open the LEGO set, but they are not allowed to assemble pieces

Play the game Part 1 (20 mins)

Lunch Break (10 mins)

  • Teams are encouraged to switch roles to optimize one another’s skills more effectively
  • What did you learn from observing other teams?

Play the game Part 2 (25 mins)

Wrap-up (10+ mins)

  • Each Team presents their LEGO set to the group
  • Facilitator can optionally score each LEGO set to determine a winner (see Scoring section below)
  • See ‘Learning Points’ below

Team Roles:

The Builder

  • Builds the LEGO set
  • HANDICAP – is blindfolded

The Draftsman

  • Looks at the plans and has all the pieces
  • Architectural drawings must remain with the Draftsman at ALL times
  • HANDICAP – cannot move at all and must keep plans within reach at all times

The Shipper

  • Moves the pieces from the draftsman to the builder
  • The shipper must place the pieces down once and no further manipulation is allowed unless they want to ship it back to the draftsman
  • HANDICAP – cannot assemble any two pieces, but can place them anywhere, and this person cannot talk

The Observer

  • Observes the process, spies on other teams, and prepares for an informative retrospective
  • This can be an OPTIONAL role if you only want 4 members per team
  • HANDICAP – cannot interact with other team members

The Foreman

  • Stays with the Builder to give instructions
  • Can talk to the Draftsman, but only if accompanying Shipper between locations
  • HANDICAP - cannot touch the pieces

Scoring (optional):

The facilitator may choose to score each team’s LEGO set once the exercise is complete, and every team has had an opportunity to extol the virtues of their LEGO creation. The chart below allows the ‘strictly objective’ facilitator to score a 1 (meh) to 3 (wow) for each of the categories. Feel free to adjust the categories as you see fit. ‘Attack’ and ‘Defense’ are popular options for the common Robot themes often found in LEGO sets between 50-90 pieces. Have fun with this.

1-3

Team A

Team B

Team C

Team D

Team E

Team F

Completeness

Presentation

Attack

Defense

QA (following instructions)

Learning Points:

  • Fun
  • Team Building
  • Communication
  • Collaboration
  • Matching roles to skills

Reinforce the communication and collaboration skills featured in this team building exercise, and ask the groups to reveal aspects of their strategy.

  • Did they attempt to consider one another’s strengths and weaknesses before assigning roles? This encourages everyone to work more effectively as a team, and with the humility and courage required to help each person understand where they fit in.
  • Did they optimize their process after the lunch hour? This demonstrates adaptation through feedback (agile principle).
  • Did they effectively use their available time to come up with a good sound strategy?
  • Did everyone participate in the planning? Were the opinions of all team members solicited fairly?
  • Did the group work collaboratively or did they adopt a command and control model?

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