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The Marble Game, A Teambuilding Exercise, PMCamp Berlin 2014

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The Marble Game. A Team Building Exercise. Slides from the PMCamp Berlin 2014.

How would a bunch of skilled and experienced project managers who lead teams to success perform as team themselves.

I don't know who this game can be attributed to. There are several pages explaining the game (with names such as "pipeline", "customer connection", "marble pass" and others) in this way or with variations but none of them names the original author.

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The Marble Game, A Teambuilding Exercise, PMCamp Berlin 2014

  1. 1. THE MARBLE GAME Self-Organising Teams
  2. 2. Christoph Moser (chris@vividbreeze.com) THE MARBLE GAME GREAT PROJECT MANAGERS … have great Communication Skills … are great at delegating Tasks … stay cool under Pressure … promote Team Building … command Authority Naturally … know how to solve Problems … exercise independent and fair consensus-building skills when conflict arises http://www.recruiter.com/i/10-things-that-make-a-good-project-manager-great/ http://99u.com/articles/6946/top-10-characteristics-of-great-project-managers http://www.cio.com/article/447182/Six_Attributes_of_Successful_Project_Managers
  3. 3. Christoph Moser (chris@vividbreeze.com) THE MARBLE GAME THE PROJECT MANAGER Five Salty Balls by Gabriel Rojas Hruska , https://www.flickr.com/photos/bluefade/4229364807/
  4. 4. Christoph Moser (chris@vividbreeze.com) THE MARBLE GAME HERDING CATS Herding Cats: A Primer for Programmers Who Lead Programmers - Hank Rainwater, 2002
  5. 5. Christoph Moser (chris@vividbreeze.com) THE MARBLE GAME HERDING CATS https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1SmgLtg1Izw
  6. 6. Christoph Moser (chris@vividbreeze.com) THE MARBLE GAME BUT HOW WOULD A BUNCH OF PROJECT MANAGERS WORK TOGETHER AS A TEAM?
  7. 7. THE MARBLE GAME
  8. 8. Christoph Moser (chris@vividbreeze.com) THE MARBLE GAME THE GAME Within your team, transport a Marble from A to B using Tubes!
  9. 9. Christoph Moser (chris@vividbreeze.com) THE MARBLE GAME THE RULES •  Each Person is allowed to have at most one Tube. •  The Marble has to stay in the Tube •  The person who holds the Marble is not allowed to move. •  The person who holds the Marble is not allowed to close the ends of the Tube •  Manipulation of the Tube that hinders the Marble from a free flow is not allowed.
  10. 10. Christoph Moser (chris@vividbreeze.com) THE MARBLE GAME DON’T BREAK THE RULES If the rules are broken the marble goes back to the start
  11. 11. ROUND 1
  12. 12. Christoph Moser (chris@vividbreeze.com) THE MARBLE GAME ROUND 1 8 Minutes to transfer as many marbles as possible from cup A to cup B. On Member measures the time for each run as well as the total number of Marbles that went from A to B.
  13. 13. LEARNINGS?
  14. 14. Christoph Moser (chris@vividbreeze.com) THE MARBLE GAME GREAT PROJECT MANAGERS … have great Communication Skills … are great at delegating Tasks … stay cool under Pressure … promote Team Building … command Authority Naturally … know how to solve Problems … exercise independent and fair consensus-building skills when conflict arises
  15. 15. Christoph Moser (chris@vividbreeze.com) THE MARBLE GAME PRE – PLANNING versus ITERATIVE APPROACH
  16. 16. Christoph Moser (chris@vividbreeze.com) THE MARBLE GAME PRE - PLANNING “If I had an hour to solve a problem I'd spend 55 minutes thinking about the problem and 5 minutes thinking about solutions.” Albert Einstein “A goal without a plan is just a wish.” Antoine de Saint-Exupéry “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” Benjamin Franklin
  17. 17. Christoph Moser (chris@vividbreeze.com) THE MARBLE GAME ITERATIVE APPROACH “Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the face.” Mike Tyson “Responding to change over following a plan” Manifesto for Agile Software Development, Beck K et al., 2001
  18. 18. Christoph Moser (chris@vividbreeze.com) THE MARBLE GAME TEAM DEVELOPMENT “Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence wins championships.” Michael Jordan “Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much” Helen Keller “The strength of the team is each individual member. The strength of each member is the team.” Phil Jackson
  19. 19. Christoph Moser (chris@vividbreeze.com) THE MARBLE GAME DEVELOPMENTAL SEQUENCE Developmental Sequence in Small Groups (Tuckman, BW, 1965) 1. FORMING 2. STORMING 3. NORMING4. PERFORMING
  20. 20. Christoph Moser (chris@vividbreeze.com) THE MARBLE GAME HOW CAN WE PERFORM BETTER?
  21. 21. ROUND 2
  22. 22. Christoph Moser (chris@vividbreeze.com) THE MARBLE GAME ROUND 2 8 Minutes to transfer as many marbles as possible from cup A to cup B. On Member measures the time for each run as well as the total number of Marbles that went from A to B. Build New Teams
  23. 23. LEARNINGS?
  24. 24. Christoph Moser (chris@vividbreeze.com) THE MARBLE GAME PMCAMP BERLIN 2014
  25. 25. Christoph Moser (chris@vividbreeze.com) THE MARBLE GAME OBSERVATIONS Their experience didn’t make Project Managers perform better in a self-organising team. Nobody wanted to act as a leader because it was a team game. There was indeed a pre-planning in each team, which was continued by an iterative approach (test-and-learn). Interestingly, the quietest team won the second round (5:2). As I put the target mark (cup) on the floor, the hardest part was to get the marble down. As a feedback I was told: “it was like 80% of the way were easy and the last 20% were the hardest – similar to some tasks in real life.” Although there was no “forming” phase, “storming”, “norming” and “performing” phase could be seen.
  26. 26. Christoph Moser (chris@vividbreeze.com) THE MARBLE GAME POSSIBLE IMPROVEMENTS The facilitator of the team member who measures the time, acts as a motivator and coach to encourage the team to perform better. Try to find more space – if the room is too small, try it on the floor outside if possible. Experiment with longer tubes. One participant knew another way to play the game: Two teams play the game outside and try to reach the target point at the same time.
  27. 27. THANK YOU
  28. 28. Christoph Moser (chris@vividbreeze.com) THE MARBLE GAME WHO WAS THIS GUY? Dipl-Ing. tech. Informatik, MBA Agile Coach, Agile Project Manager Strong Background as Java Developer and Information Architect Certified Scrum Master Certified Scrum Product Owner Keen runner, photographer and cook chris@vividbreeze.com 0049 173 36 18 15 8 www.vividbreeze.com Christoph Moser
  29. 29. HAVE A BREAK

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