Lean Lego Game - 4 Rounds to Successful Lean Training
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.
- 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 is played with 4 teams of operators who work different stations.
- First team sorts the Lego bricks into colours
- Second team sorts the bricks into different sizes (keeping colours separated)
- Third team sorts the bricks into specific lots required to build a Lego house
- 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:
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.
Also, since the game can become quite frantic and fast-paced, it's actually an excellent form of stress management and could help people manage similar situations in the actual workplace.
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.
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.