60 Paces

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Timing: 10 mins

Ingredients:

  • Stop Watch

Directions:

Round one
Each person pairs off with another, preferably someone they do not know.
Each pair then chooses who will be the manager and who will be the worker.
The manager will direct the worker to walk 60 normal paces within two minutes using only the following 6 commands: Go, Stop, Left, Right, Faster, Slower.
After two minutes are up, ask for a show of hands for how many completed the 60 paces.

Round two
There are no managers or workers. Each individual can direct themselves. Again, the goal is to walk 60 paces in two minutes. After two minutes are up, ask for a show of hands for how many completed the 60 paces.

Learning Points:

  • Comparison between command and control and self organizing teams and the underlying efficiency of the latter.

CREDIT: Ken Schwaber, co-creator of Scrum

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5 Responses to "60 Paces"
  • Alan June 3, 2011 at 11:54 am

    Hi Mike,

    I’m preparing this game for a learning exercise. When I played it in my scrum training course, all the “workers” walked in the same space and the manager’s job was to prevent their worker from crashing into each other. Of course, under manager direction, people eventually crashed. When we controlled ourselves nobody crashed. I don’t remember how big the space was. Is it more of an “eyeball” for the size of the group or do you have some guidance on the size of the space?

    Thanks!

    Alan

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  • Michael McCullough June 12, 2011 at 2:12 pm

    Hi Alan,

    So I do kind of eyeball it when I run this. The room needs to have some space for walking and movement that is not too awkward nor so expansive that problems don’t emerge for a long time. I would say that so long as there is room for everyone to comfortably sit in the room with some space between tables (2-3 ft) and at the edges of the room (3-5 ft) it is fine. Hope that helps Alan, best of luck with it!

    Mike

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  • Alan June 16, 2011 at 7:39 am

    Ok, thanks! I’ll be running through this with the team next week and will let you know how it goes.

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  • Geoffrey June 30, 2011 at 8:32 am

    If the space is small enough (based on the number of players), then I think this game can also serve to enforce the importance of communication. If the manager cannot see what the players are doing, then there will obviously be a lot more collisions, and few people would complete the 60 paces. In addition, when players are directing themselves, they also rely on seeing (or hearing) what the other players are doing in order to avoid collisions and complete their paces. I think a variation of this could be to blindfold the players and force them to rely on verbal communication to prevent collisions.

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  • Yuval yeret July 24, 2011 at 10:14 am

    I want to emphasize the management overhead when people from multiple teams are required to deliver a feature – to setup the ground for cross functional feature/scrum teams with different line management style.

    Thought of a version which uses pairs of workers each able to do one function, with each a manager, but need to work together – eg left right person and front back person. With one manager per worker should work ok.
    But then say come on we cannot have manager 1:1 so let’s have a manager for 3 persons. Now the teams need to get orders from multiple managers each having to split their time between teams.
    With significant obstacles and surprises thrown their way.

    I’m not a bottleneck, I’m a free man should come to mind qt this point…

    Then can go to self organized team, or stop on the way at feature team with one manager at least…

    Will try it and report. If anyone has a better idea how to get this learning point across would love to hear!

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