Lean Lego Game

This post is from Martin Boersema‘s awesome “Lean Simulations blog“. I just found the site and I’m blown away with the amount of cool stuff Martin has collected.

Watch your senior management scramble to sort Lego against the clock in this Lean Lego Game, designed to illustrate how Lean and Agile techniques can make your process more efficient. This proven Lego game was designed by Danilo Sato and Francisco Trindade and presented at Agile 2008 and 2009.

The large pack of files includes clear instructions and professional presentation material. Everything you need to run your own version of the game is included, except the bricks.

Covering many Lean concepts including waste (the seven wastes), inventory buffers and kanban, kaizen and workcells, it’s perfect for facilitating your own Lego session, whether you’re implementing Lean in software development or on a manufacturing shop floor.

This game runs for 1.5 to 3 hours, depending on whether you want to run the long or short version. The long version includes an extra iteration of the game.

In short:  Professional.

Clear. Comprehensive. Adaptable.

Key Files:

  • Facilitator Guide
  • Slides (Long and Short Version)
  • Building Instructions
  • Team Instructions

The production quality of the game material is top notch. The facilitator’s guide is easy to follow and the slides are approaching Steve Jobs-like quality (i.e. excellent).

With the emphasis on software development, it will fit right into your Agile training session, while some minor massaging of the material will be necessary for a manufacturing or other Lean environment.

The Game:

The game is played with 4 teams of operators who work different stations.

  1. First team sorts the Lego bricks into colours
  2. Second team sorts the bricks into different sizes (keeping colours separated)
  3. Third team sorts the bricks into specific lots required to build a Lego house
  4. Fourth team takes specified bricks and builds a house according to the instructions

Round 1 – Push System

  • Teams sort and build as fast as possible. Inventory piles up. Chaos ensues. Debrief. Discuss waste, inventory, 7 wastes, push vs pull, kanban.
  • Make sure you motivate your team with the included posters!

Round 2 – Pull system

Install buffer limits between stations and only build when buffers empty. Debrief. Discuss solving unleveled process and the concept of a work cell.

Round 3 – Work Cell

Simultaneous house construction in work cells. Debrief. Discuss concept of kaizen.

Round 4 – Kaizen

Kaizen. Teams allowed to change what they want to improve process. Conclusion and final debrief.

Here’s a video of the Lean Lego game in action:

Conclusion:

Overall, this is a very well presented game. It has clear instructions and appears to be easy to teach people due to the simplicity. I love the push vs. pull approach between rounds 1 and 2. It clearly illustrates the benefits of Lean and reducing WIP.

In Round 3, the work cell concept is discussed and demonstrated clearly. I would have liked to see a break-up of the building of the house to level the process, rather than building 4 identical structures at the same time. Perhaps a 2 person work cell for building, each doing half a house would work better.

But I come from a manufacturing background, so perhaps that’s my own preconceptions bubbling to the surface! I’d be interested if anyone separated the building aspect into two parts as a kaizen during any of the sessions run at the Agile conferences.

You can request all the material to run your own session of this game from Danilo Sato or Francisco Trindade.

Here’s a photoset of the Lean Lego game being played on Flickr.

As always, please comment if you’ve had any experience playing this game or running a session. Also hop on over to the creators’ blogs and share your comments there.

I’ve added this game to my growing list of Lean games and simulations.

Martin has even provided a link to the slides!

This post is from the “Lean Simulations blog“.

http://leansimulations.blogspot.com/2011/02/lean-lego-game-4-rounds-to-successful.html

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2 thoughts on “Lean Lego Game

  1. leansimulations August 16, 2011 / 7:02 am

    HI Bob,
    Thanks for linking to my site for this review of the Lean lego game. Obviously, the credit for the game goes to Danilo Sato and Francisco Trindade who created the game and run it at various Agile events. They’ve done a great job developing this game and making it available.
    I also have a large collection of lean training videos on my blog, so make sure you check those out as well!

    • Bob Hubbard August 16, 2011 / 9:22 am

      Many thanks to you, Danilo and Franciso for keeping the lean message going and for living lean by sharing your experiences!
      bh

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