After the success of last year’s Build a Hovercraft event for Brighton Digital Festival CDIT Open Studios , we decided to created a lego-themed day this year. Our guests got together to build Lego cars, test them out in a nail-biting race, and learn about Agile principles in the process… 

I would be very surprised if this was the first time that Agile has been demonstrated alongside a generous serving of beer and pizza but maybe, just maybe, our 2016 CDIT Open Studio was the first time Agile has been paired with Lego. If anyone knows different then please do let us know!

The idea behind the event was very simple: open our doors to Brighton’s flourishing digital community, place our guests into three teams, assign them a Scrum Master from the assembled ranks of Asset Bank staff, give them their assignment (in this case, to build a remote-control Lego vehicle) and brief them (very, very brief!) on how to work in Agile “sprints”. We thought this would be effective in demonstrating the quick, informal but efficient way that we work.

Asset Bank team members building Lego vehicle around table

We sent our teams off to the first sprint with instructions to build something that could travel from X to Y in the fastest time. Once completed, Eric, one of our Directors, magnificently played the part of a client who had omitted to tell us a crucial feature (it was as if he was drawing on real life experience!). He explained to the teams that as well as going from X to Y the vehicles were also required to go over a ramp.

Asset Bank team members racing Lego vehicles on track

For the third and final sprint, Eric added one more important requirement — the vehicles not only needed to clear the ramp but they needed to make it through two waves of “marble madness”. It was impressive to see how quickly the teams adapted their designs to ever increasing demands and in the final race, each of the three marvellous lego machines handled the course with aplomb. The winners were the Pink Team, with Ben, one of our star Developers, in the Scrum Master role (check out the video above to hear Ben’s take on the day) but it was a close run.

I think it’s safe to say that not only did everyone have fun, but that those who didn’t already have a working knowledge of Agile went away having learned the basics of how Asset Bank develops its digital asset management software. More importantly, they hopefully now understand why we’re passionate about working this way. 

Lego car on table built with Agile methods

The Brighton Digital Festival happens every year so keep an eye out for what we’re up to next year. It’s sure to be bigger and better, with more beer, more pizza and more fun with Agile!

Andrew Hutchinson, October 2016

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