This is a simple and quick game that can be used as an energizer and get to know each other a little bit. It also gives you hooks to talk about acceptance criteria, self-organizing teams and process improvements

Participants: 4-50

Timings: 15-20 minutes

Materials: none

Instructions:

Round 1:

  1. Ask everybody to stand up
  2. Assign a ‘manager’ and ask him to make the group stand in a line, ordered by length
  3. Wait to see what happens.
  4. After everybody is lined up, check the result with them. Is the result ok? How can you do this faster?
  5. Thank the ‘manager’ for his/her help.
  6. Did the ‘manager’ specify the end result? Or was he/she managing the process?

Round 2:

  1. Take over the role als ‘manager’.
  2. Specify the expected end-result very clearly: “After I say ‘Go’, I want you to line up, ordered by your first name, ascending, A starting on the left to Z on the right”
  3. Verify if the team understands the expected end result.
  4. Say “Go”
  5. Wait to see what happens.
  6. After everybody is lined up, check the results with them. How can you check this? (e.g. make everybody say their name out loud). How can you do this faster?
  7. Show that being clear about the end result (acceptance criteria) enables the team to self-organize.

Round 3:

  1. Specify the expected end result very clearly: “After I say ‘Go’, I want you to line up, ordered by the name of your favourite hobby, ascending, A starting on the left to Z on the right”
  2. Verify if the team understands the expected end result.
  3. Say “Go”
  4. Wait to see what happens.
  5. After everybody is lined up, Make everybody say their name out loud).
  6. Show that being clear about the end result (acceptance criteria) enables the team to self-organize.

 Variations

  • Use some other to line up, like. years with this company, years in this business, travel distance, home town.

Learning Points

  • Get some energy in the room
  • Get to know each other a little bit and let people speak up to each other
  • Show that if the acceptance criteria of the expected end result are clear to the team, they are able to self-organize
  • Length is an extrinsic value, so this can be used without talking. First name is an intrinsic value, so you have to speak and ask. Finally favorite hobby is an intrinsic value that’s really hard to guess, even in a group that knows each other’s first-name.
  • See which roles people take. Who is taking the lead? Who is ‘freezing’? Who is easily led?

2 thoughts on “ Line up

  1. In Round 1 and in the Learning Points section, did you mean to say “height” and not “length”? If so, consider correcting. 🙂
    Would be nice to see a video recording of someone actually playing the Line Up game, to see how it plays out.

  2. Variation to this game: instead of forming a line, ask participants to form a U-shape. That way, they can see each other, and it is still clear what the “start and end of range” is.

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