Story cubes are a children’s toy designed to help with the creation and telling of stories. Each die has pictures instead of numbers and they are full of potential metaphors. They can be a fantastic tool to help a team reflect on a series of events they have experienced.
I first tried this in December 2015 with a team who had suffered a bit of a traumatic month and since then have facilitated quite a lot of very interesting retrospectives using Story Cubes. The parallels that can be drawn between work and dinosaurs or alien invasions are endless!
Timing: A good hour
- 11x Story Cubes (usually a set of 9 and one of the expansion sets added)
- Whiteboard / Markers
- PostIts / Pens
- A camera/phone to record the glorious result!
- Draw 9 squares on a whiteboard. This should be in a single line or in groups of three. They should be big enough for a small drawing that people in the room can see.
- Label the first 3 ‘Beginning’, the next 3 ‘Middle’, the last three ‘End’.
- Discuss the timeframe that the team are going to tell a story about. Make sure that everyone knows the start and end points being used and that there are events significant to the team in that time.
- Discuss how stories should have a beginning (setting the scene), a middle (with exposition and drama) and an end (resolution). When we think about the past it’s easy to just think about the end and not where we came from and how we got there.
- Roll 11 story cubes so that everyone can see (you’ll only use 9).
- Take turns with a member of the team doing the following:
- Come and choose a dice
- Draw your interpretation of the image in the next square on the board (some are quite ambiguous!)
- Tell the next part of the story of the team using that image, describing what you’ve drawn
- During the telling it’s usually a good idea to write a few words down for each image to remind people at the end.
- After the story is complete ask the team which parts of the story they would change. Post it notes can be used for this.
Builder of software and Agile evangelist. Not actually made of Lego.