As a Coach, Scrum Master for a Scrum Team it is sometimes difficult to find ways to inspire people and give them a goal to strive for. Most of Scrum Teams have been trained to use Scrum, they have people helping them to apply it but do they really understand the implications of all this?
Scrum or not, companies organizes team buildings for teams, project, groups in order to bring people closer for years now. It is not because it is fun, it has a cost obviously, but we do that because we know that successes comes from motivated group of people. So in order to get better outcomes from a Scrum Team we need to give them an idea of what it means to be a high performance team, not just another team.
High Performance Tree
Few years ago I discovered this video from Lyssa Adkins, very simple but extremely powerful.
In only few minutes by drawing this tree in front of your team and explaining them what it means to be a successful Scrum Team you can get them inspired. Then you can talk about all the attributes of a High Performance Team with them and probably discover more. I encourage you to do it, not a waste of time really.
Either you are a Scrum Team Member or a coach the Values Retrospective can be very powerful. As you probably know at the end of each Sprint we run Retrospectives to inspect ourselves as a self-organized and cross functional scrum team. After few sprints if you don’t have the proper mindset in place you will face a zombie scrum team doing mechanical or flaccid scrum. We definitively don’t want that. I won’t go into the many ways of trying to get back on track with a team like that, but a starting point can be to inspect how we are doing with the Scrum Values.
Reboot the values
Start the meeting by covering the 3 pillars and the 5 values. If you are facilitating, don’t be the only one to speak. Timebox the discussion for each value. Ask the audience what means each value for them. Ask them to not try to inspect the current state of adoption but really what this value is supposed to mean for a Scrum Team.
Evaluate Values Adoption
Ask everyone to evaluate each value from 1 to 5 for example. You can do that on paper, with fist of five, online with a shared tabular sheet… Your choice.
Then ask the audience to rank the values. Which one is the one we totally adopted which one we have the most difficulties to apply to ourselves. You can rank them from 1 to 5 or use any other way.
Discuss the Results & Take Action
Sum the results for each value and look at the one you need to work on the most. This has to be a discussion but don’t forget to come out of it with at least one concrete action to take immediately.
In the past years I had the chance to support, train, teach and mentor many teams in adopting Scrum and agile practices. I have seen many organizations, departments, group of people with various point of views regarding agile. Most of the time people around are skeptical and doubtful about bringing more agility in their environment simply because it is different than what they are used to. Thankfully after trying it, a large portion of people, even the more skeptical realize that they can’t come back to where they were before. When people realize this that mean you probably have made an impact.
I consider our job as coaches to impact organizations. When we come somewhere we should assess the current state of things around and measure what is changing weeks after weeks. They open new jobs for Product Owners, they hire an internal coach, the workplace changes, many visible signs you can track. Having teams delivering value to their stakeholders is something but that is not it. If you consider your job done when an increment is in production you probably missed the point. Our job is to bring people together, break silos, activate new channels of communication between people who weren’t talking together, give people autonomy, drive them to the path of mastery and create a supporting environment for all those changes amongst a lot of other things.
I was and still am a .NET Developer. I did many internships during my scholarship, then worked in small to large projects. I was quite happy and an innocent dev until I became team lead and had to spend my day to break down chunks of work for my team, do PowerPointS to justify changes to my client, report to the project managerS, report to other middle management. Lot of new things that made me realize my job would be boring from this time. Frustration was building up until I resigned because of a bad manager.
One day I was getting out of a job and my community lead decided I will go on an Scrum Training for a week. I came back from holidays and went to it with a vague idea of what it was. After a week I was transformed, literally. I loved my job again.
Since then and after years experiencing terrible and successful agile my first objective is to have people having an epiphany and help them realize they can also change things in better around them or at least try.