The Marshmallow Challenge
Wednesday, 28 April 2010
Spaghetti and Marshmallow
The Marshmallow Challenge is a simple team exercise that requires a group of people to build the tallest possible structure out of 20 sticks of spaghetti, 1 yard of tape and 1 marshmallow placed on top.
Based on a talk by Tom Wujec on ted.com, business school students create some of the worst structures while kindergarten children rustle up the tallest and most innovative of standing structures. Unsurprisingly (and luckily), the winners are architects and engineers, people who have specialist knowledge in structural engineering.
So what does this challenge teach us? That building things iteratively brings us closer to success with every attempt we make. That prototyping works by helping us put Plan-Do-Check-Act into practice. That specialised skills plus facilitation gives us a greater chance of success. That keeping the goal in mind by testing your structure by placing the marshmallow on top as you evolve a structure is why kindergarten children do better than business school graduates. That fun is fundamental to the forming and continuous development of a healthy, well-functioning team. Put all these observations together and what do they spell? Yes! Agile Delivery in action.
Are you ready to take on the Marshmallow Challenge as a team?