Reading Time: 3 minutes

POChallenge — Product Owner Challenge Game

Main Takeaways
Reading Time: 3 minutes The Product Owner Challenge Game is an agile game with Lego bricks. The goal is to illustrate a waterfall-driven product development culture transitioning from Waterfall to Agile the agile mindset: communicate face-to-face clear objectives, requirements, and product vision — a real challenge for a product development department.

The Game

I created the game "Product Owner Challenge (POChallenge)" to illustrate my customers the agile mindset in transitioning from Waterfall to Agile.

"POChallenge" is a new agile game with Lego bricks.  It supports organisations in transitioning from Waterfall to Agile and illustrates the agile mindset to a waterfall-driven product development culture: stop micro-management and communicate face-to-face clear objectives, requirements, and product vision.
The product description is in one part of the room, PO and DevTeam in the other. PO is not allowed to show it to DevTeam, but can inspect the plan as often it's needed — PO has to "walk & talk" — real challenges for traditional-minded product development departments.

Challenge your Product Development (PO) team!

  • To communicate with DevTeams as clear as possible,
  • To describe the requirements and product vision to DevTeams as precise as needed,
  • To micro-manage the project or to allow the DevTeam self-organisation,
  • To handle locally distributed DevTeams appropriately,
  • To manage the product development project waterfall- or agile driven like.



Target Audience    —  Product Owner, Scrum Master, Product Dev Manager/Leads
Game Objectives
   —  Share product vision and instructions to the team as precise as possible to build the product right. Communicate (requirements) as clear as possible.

Learning Points   —  (1) Co-located collaboration leads to faster results and better quality; (2) Even precise, clear and distinct as possible, verbal communication alone is never precise, clear and distinct enough; (3) Too detailed instructions hinder creativity and turn fast to micro-management.

Playing instructions   —    PO and DevTeam are in separate rooms or in one room separated by distance. Only PO has building instructions and is not allowed to show it to DevTeam. – PO has to communicate!

  • Product mgmt (PO) decides which product (model) of the Lego kit the DevTeam has to build
  • PO has the building description
  • DevTeam has Lego bricks only, and no building description
  • PO is not allowed to show construction plan or photos to DevTeam;
  • PO is allowed to inspect the plan as often she he needs to.


Product Owner Challenge



  • „How easy/difficult was your task?” – „What were your emotions?”
  • „What made your task easy/difficult?”
  • „Were you stressed?” – „Why?”
  • „How was the communication with DevTeam?”
  • „How often did you get back to view the instructions again?”
  • „How was it to be a micro-manager?” – „To give the DevTeam trust and laissez-faire?”
  • ....
  • „When is micro-management/waterfall appropriate and when agile management?”
  • „What were the experiences you made with locally distributed teams?”
  • „How many deviations are between the final product (model) and the product vision (building instruction)?”
  • ....


Over the time the game evolved with the help and feedback of the community.

POChallenge 1.0


Play the game, contribute your ideas, and stay tuned!
Web: — Twitter: @POChallenge, #POChallenge


POChallenge 2.0

In version 2.0, I added for selected LEGO sets a kind of agile user stories to play an agile "flavour": sprint planning, user story prioritisation, etc.


POChallenge 3.0

Version 3.0 of POChallenge I presented first at Agile Cambridge 2016.

Here I introduced so-called process cards to play "The Agile Way" and "The Waterfall Way".

These cards ask the team explicitly to follow basic ground rules of the agile resp. waterfall framework.

Further Readings

: CC-L Tobias Cieplik, zero2nine photographyM.Tarnowski, PiB, .