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Onboarding with pizza and Playing Lean

A client I was working with had two innovation teams that were moving rapidly applying agile and lean startup. One team reached a problem/solution fit, and were working on (in)validating if there is product/market fit.

In order to overcome their lack of software development capability they were running two types of experiments. Growth experiments were all about testing the market demand, while product experiments were about testing the solution at different levels.

Once they exhausted all product experiments that didn’t require significant coding they decided to expand the team by several software developers.

The question of onboarding was raised.

How can we explain the way we work?

By playing of course!

So, let me share with you how we used pizza and Playing Lean to onboard new team members.

With simulations you can generate an imaginary context which creates real lived experiences with genuine emotions.

Here is how we set up the session:

  • The workshop was on premise, so we decided to have it after work hours.
  • Healthy snacks available during the workshop. Greasy pizza comes at the end. Don’t get your game dirty.
  • Team’s canvases, dashboards, and sprint board were in the workshop room to make the way of work more tangible.
  • When creating teams for the Playing Lean workshop I mixed everybody to avoid all newcomers being on one team.
  • I used examples of their own experiments when explaining experiment cards. It led to good discussions, as well as strengthened ownership.
  • Once the game was finished, retrospection was focused on connecting what they learned in the game to how the team experienced it in their work.
  • After we wrapped up with the reflection session, we went for some hot pizzas and cold drinks.
  • Final discussions were at the team’s physical location, focusing once more on connecting the experience we just had with the way they work and have worked.

In just four hours new team members got to experience how their new colleagues work and think, while having fun and getting to know each other better.

When I was facilitating this workshop I emphasized teamwork more than Lean Startup principles, since the goal was to onboard new team members.

Although we made Playing Lean for teaching Lean Startup, you have full control in deciding how and what for will you use it.

Don’t be afraid to experiment!

Join us this Wednesday, 22 July, for a free Playing Lean Expert Webinar with Katie Anderson. You can read more about the webinar and reserve your seat here.

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