The Rope Game

By Joe in Agile on March 08, 2013

Image 0900 full 2x

We’ve put together a short video segment on one of the many learning games we play with people to help demonstrate the power of Scrum and Agile.

The Rope Game from Boost New Media on Vimeo.

We’ve also included the instructions for the game below.

If you are interested in using games to help your Scrum teams, we discuss the topic on our latest episode of The Board, The Board – Episode 6


The rope game


3 to 7 minutes


  1. 6 to 10 people  –> to form the circle
  2. 1 person to stand out of the group
  3. 1 metre piece of rope, per person in the circle

How to play


  1. Ask one person to volunteer to be a “Project Manager” and step out of the team.
  2. Have the team form a circle (facing in).
  3. Give each team member a rope and ask them to hold it in their right hand and pass the other end to a person standing across from them.
  4. Ask each person, in turn, to pass their ropes across in the same manner until everyone is holding two ropes.
  5. Ask the Project Manager to direct the team so that it is untangled and standing side by side in a circle.
We normally allow them a minute to a minute and a half until we stop the exercise


  1. Get the team to form a circle again
  2. Ask them to repeat handing across the ropes to re-tangle themselves.
  3. This time, ask the Project Manager to simply observe and not say anything
  4. Ask the team to untangle itself (typically takes between 20 to 40 seconds)


This exercise demonstrates the power of a team’s ability to solve complex problems when they collaborate. It resonates with Scrum in that you encourage the team to be self organising to get the full benefit of their abilities.

If you try the game, please let us know how it went in the comments below!