The Rope Game – discovering the power of collaboration

By Joe in Agile on March 08, 2013

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Learn how to play The Rope Game

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

The Rope Game from Boost 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 The Board, The Board – Episode 6

Playing The Rope Game

Time:

3 to 7 minutes

Materials

  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

PART 1

  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

PART 2

  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)

Learning

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!