The normal Movement rate of a model (also referred to as its 'speed) is defined by its Movement allowance (M) characteristic value.
During their movement phase, units can move up to their Movement allowance in inches. For example, Men have a Movement characteristic of 4 and so may move up to 4'. Elves, naturally faster and nimbler of foot, move up to 5".
Models do not have to move the full distance allowed, or can stay still if you prefer, but they cannot move further than their normal Move rate unless charging, marching, pursuing or fleeing (all of these types of move are discussed later).
Troops move and fight in a tight formation of one or more ranks. Such a formation is normally referred to with the coverall term 'unit', even though some races make use of more unusual terms such as regiment, squadron, mob, herd, etc.
When a unit moves around the battlefield it must maintain its formation, which means that models are not free to wander off on their own. The formation can move straight forward as a body perfectly easily, but if it wishes to change direction then it must make a manoeuvre.