Connecting AWESOME Remote Teams: Preparation and Pre-Work


9th April 2020 by Steve Holyer

Here is how to prepare for the course.

Quick ”Executive Summary“

30-60 minutes prep work.  Most is optional. Please do what you can and want  to do, leave the rest.
The LEGO kit is important though.

  1. Prepare your personal LEGO Kit.
    • About 50 LEGO
    • Try to have:
      • at least 1 wand

      • 1 flag

      • 1 LEGO Mini-Figure (a LEGO person)

      • something with an eye on it

      • at least 1 flower

  2. Write down your answer: What’s the one thing that puzzles you the most about connecting remote teams?  (Make it real, and current. Urgent is best.)
  3. Prepare your space — setup:
    • This is a video intensive course. Be ready to join with video use a camera if it’s possible
    • I recommend you use a desktop or laptop computer, plus a smart phone or tablet.  I know this isn’t always possible. So we’ll work with what we have.
  4. Prepare your space—software
    • We’re using two software tools.
      • Zoom
      • MURAL
    • Visit our Digital Workspace on MURAL. Look around. (You don’t need to signup or login. You can use our space as a guest.)
  5. Setup your spot at our course table.
    • Go to our Digital Workspace on MURAL
    • Go to our wooden course table and add a picture of your LEGO kit to the table top (this is your place to work).
    • Put a sticky note on the table with your name and one or two things about you that we need to know. (My kit and sticky note are already on the table.)
  6. Permission to record and photograph.
    • I will ask your permission to make a recording only for my personal use.
    • I will also ask your permission to make screen shots to use on social media and with other promotions.
    • You can always say ”no”.

You’re invited to remain thirty minutes after the course ends for a bonus meta round. This is completely optional, and we can also schedule it for a another time.

The Full Details

This is the same information with more text, more explanations, a few hints and a few pictures.

Preparing Yourself

(30-60 minutes - estimate)

Please do what you can. And leave the rest. However the LEGO kit is important.

Your Personal LEGO Kit

This is a course using LEGO® Serious Play® so you will need to have some LEGO. Instead of using the standard LEGO Serious Play "warm-up" kit, I’m asking you to create your own kit!

Here’s some guidelines:

  • Your kit should have about 50 LEGO bricks. (All LEGO pieces are called bricks, even the LEGO people.)

  • Look for normal sized bricks or smaller. They should easy to handle and work with.

  • Try to have:

    • at least 1 wand

    • 1 flag

    • 1 LEGO Mini-Figure (a LEGO person)

    • something with an eye on it

    • at least 1 flower

    • And a duck.

  • OK, I was joking about the duck. But if you find a duck, that’s cool.

Don’t stress out if you can’t find something. It’s ok. And I’ll let you into a little secret right now. "It is what you say it is." So if you say it’s a duck. It’s a duck!

For reference, here’s a picture of the kit that LEGO assembled for LEGO Serious Play "warm ups":


And here’s a few of the special pieces according to LEGO’s imagination (your imagination will be be better than LEGO’s—it's a fact):

Writing Excercise

What’s the one thing that puzzles you the most about connecting remote teams ?  (Make it real, and current. If you have urgenturgent is best.)

I’d like you to write down your answer to that question: what puzzles you. It's probably not a long answer. It doesn't need to be. You can use one piece of paper (or a half piece of of paper), or a page in your journal, or your small notebook.

Here’s a request. Make it real. This is a more powerful question (and a more powerful excerise) when:

  • it’s a real question
  • you don’t already know the answer
  • it’s something that you care about.
  • And it’s even better if it’s an urgent question

Preparing your Space


This course has a very strong visual component. For this course, I want to ask you to leave your cameras on. So please plan for that.

Of course there is an important exception!

Lower Internet Speeds

Many people are experiencing video issues because of lack of bandwith on their network. (And because Zoom has been flooded with more users than they ever dreamed of.)

We want to be able to work with you if you can’t use video because the infrastructure won’t support video data rates.

We will find a way to work with you.  

And that's another reason that I’ll ask everyone else to leave your cameras on.

Your Course Work Environment

My goal is: the technology that supports our session will “disappear” while you’re using it. I don’t think we'll ever reach that goal completely, but I love to try. We can come close.


I recommend using a laptop or desktop computer with a second device nearby—like a phone or a tablet.

Of course, oftentimes that's not an option. We will adapt to use the  actual equipment that we have online  as a group.



We’re using Zoom for telepresence. (I’ll send the meeting room links when I confirm your registration.)

If you haven’t installed Zoom, you’ll want to join a few minutes early to initiate the software install.

(I think there are only five people left in the world who haven’t installed Zoom now. They are all in West Texas or on a mountain in Switzerland. Ok, I know very well that’s not true. But it feels like it sometimes. Right?)


We will also use MURAL for our digital workspace. MURAL is available on the web with apps for Microsoft Windows, and iPhone or iPad. (Unfortunately, there’s no Android App.) The web experience is full featured.  It's the real deal. So no need to install the window's app unless you want to. (As an Apple user I can't support you on Windows.)

But, I'd like iOS users to help us out with their app.

iOS and iPhone users: Please pre-install the MURAL App on your phone or tablet if you can. We will use the photo upload capabililities.

  • It will help us a lot, if you can upload photos from your iOS device to the MURAL workspace. That we can also assist Android users who don’t have the option of using an app.

Before the course begins, please visit our MURAL Digital Workspace.

A Final Challenge

One last “challenge”. Before the course, please visit our MURAL Digital Workspace .

  • You don’t have to create a user or login, you can use our link  to enter the Digital Workspace as a guest. Of course you’re also free to create a (free) account to login if you want. But, you don’t need it for this course.
  • Once you're there, move around in the workspace just to find out out what’s there.
    • If this is your first time in MURAL, you can look around to see what the digital tool can do.
    • But you definitely don’t have to become an expert.  We’re working to make this an easy experience for you. (Let us know if we succeed. 🙂
  • Find a wooden table in our workspace. (It’s right at the top left. You can’t miss it—I hope.) We’ll gather around this table for this course.
  • You can set up your place at the table early. Here’s what to do:
    • photograph your LEGO kit. The one you put together.

    • put your kit on the table by uploading the picture to MURAL.

      • hint for iOS users: you can use the + button you see on screen.

      • hint for web users: you can drag the photo from your finder or explorer and drop it in the MURAL workspace.
    • take a sticky note and label your kit by writing your name, something special about yourself, and anything else you want to tell us.
      • hint for iOS users: there is a sticky note icon on your screen—tap it.

      • hint for web users: you can double click in a white area of the board to create a square yellow sticky — you can also find a “drawer” full of stickies of many shapes. It's on the left side of your screen. You can drag stickies out of the draw to put them on the workspace.

You can see my kit on the table in the pictures above.

Asking Your Permission

I would like to to record our session for my private use. This is a pilot for this course, so I want to review portions of it afterwards. It will help me amplify what went really well next time, and it will help me adjust anything that could go better.

I won’t make this recording public to anyone else (even you all).

I will ask your permission for that at the beginning of the course.


I’d like to make some screen shots during the session to use on social media or in promoting the course.

I will ask your permission for that at the beginning of the course.

If you are not ok with either of these things, then please say so when I ask. It’s always ok to say “no”.

Last Thing - Meta Half-Hour

I’m also inviting you to spend an extra half-hour immediately after the course with me online.

This is the meta half-hour for you. Since this course is about creating remote connections the meta half hour will be chance for us to review the time we spent working together in the course. We’ll go meta and discuss how I designed the course to use the same thing the course is teaching.

But don’t worry. I know 3 hours is a long time to be in an online course. The extra half-hour is totally optional. It’s lagniappe*. So if you’ve had your fill of online course you can skip the meta half-hour if you want. We could even schedule another time to do it.

It’s your choice.

See you soon!

Thanks again for joining us.



** Lagniappe is a word in the dialect spoken by the Cajuns near where I grew up not to far from New Orleans. It’s a great word. It means “a little something extra just because“. Or as we also say in the small area where I grew up.  ”It’s a happy.” Ask for the the story sometime. It’s the reason we have a cupcake on our pages too. 🙂


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