The forming triangles activity is a great energizer with a valuable message on self organizing teams. I have used it from small to large groups of people.

Running the activity:
This activity is to be run twice.
First run:
  • The facilitator asks the group to walk (individually) in a random direction
  • When the facilitator says the magic word “triangle”, each group member has to find other 2 people and from an equilateral triangle (each person is a triangle vertices, and should point each arm toward the other two people representing the other triangle vertices; each person is a triangle vertice on one triangle only).
  • The facilitator takes the time of how long it took the group to from the triangles.
Second run
  • The facilitator selects one person to be the group triangle organizer.
  • The facilitator asks the group to walk in a random direction
  • When the facilitator says the magic word “triangle”, the group triangle organizer has to form equilateral triangles with all group members (including himself in one of the triangles).
  • The facilitator takes the time of how long it took the group to form the triangles.
Conversation to follow
The first run shows a self organizing group; the second run show a group guided by one organizer (the group triangle organizer).
Typically, the self-organizing triangle formation runs faster than its counterpart, and the team feel more engaged on the activity.
I find this activity very useful for starting a conversation about self organizing teams.
I learned this activity from Heitor Roriz, a friend and Scrum coach and trainer from one of his trainings. Kudos to him for applying a fun activity for fostering the conversation about an essential concept of successful agile teams: self-organization.