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No silver brick: Opportunities and limitations of teaching Scrum with Lego workshops

Journal article
Authors Jan-Philipp Steghöfer
Håkan Burden
Hiva Alahyari
D. Haneberg
Published in Journal of Systems and Software
Volume 131
Pages 230-247
ISSN 0164-1212
Publication year 2017
Published at Department of Computer Science and Engineering (GU)
Pages 230-247
Language en
Keywords Scrum, Agile software engineering, Software engineering education, HIGHER-EDUCATION, PROJECTS
Subject categories Computer and Information Science


Education in Software Engineering has to both teach technical content such as databases and programming but also organisational skills such as team work and project management. While the former can be evaluated from a product perspective, the latter are usually embedded in a Software Engineering process and need to be assessed and adapted throughout their implementation. The in-action property of processes puts a strain on teachers since we cannot be present throughout the students' work. To address this challenge we have adopted workshops to teach Scrum by building a Lego city in short sprints to focus on the methodological content. In this way we can be present throughout the process and coach the students. We have applied the exercise in six different courses, across five different educational programmes and observed more than 450 participating students. In this paper, we report on our experiences with this approach, based on quantitative data from the students and qualitative data from both students and teachers. We give recommendations for learning opportunities and best practices and discuss the limitations of these workshops in a classroom setting. We also report on how the students transferred their methodological knowledge to software development projects in an academic setting. (C) 2017 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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