When working with a new team; not necessarily new to practicing with Agile Scrum, but new to practicing together, I’ve observed a lot of challenges to overcome: Stakeholders wanting results as soon as possible; Software developers nervous about their jobs and how uncertain the future looks; Product Owners trying to please everybody but themselves; Unclear vision; Invisible limits between roles; Who does what and when; etc. All of these, surrounded by different elements like:
- Unhappy clients
- Dropping sales
- Project fusion
- Company restructuring
It seems like a perfect storm, so the question is how can you help?
- What can you do to help the team succeed?
- How do you do as Agile Coach/Scrum Master; to create the safe environment required for encouraging collaboration, creativity?
- What would your strategy be to help them reach incredible results quickly?
Well, here some things that have helped me weather the storm; when facing challenges like those mentioned above:
“Remember, you create the container, they add the content” Lyssa Adkins, Facilitation Class Montreal 2013.
- Tell the truth. You are a leader, so be truthful with the team and let them know the reality of things. Ask them what they fear and what are the possibilities? You are there to make them feel safe, so do it using your incredible and inspiring leadership skills.
- Be positive but realistic. Set the stage by being the example and keep a positive attitude at all times. Be there for them when facing reality, but remember to be compassionate, they are going through pain, so keep that in mind.
- Observe and listen. You have a privileged seat within the team, so use it. Observe how people behave, take notes, and listen actively, more than ever. Keep in mind that worries are dancing without restrictions in the office, so please be careful and be the model to follow.
- Give the team some solid foundations to be great.
Do you wish to be great? Then begin by being. Do you desire to construct a vast and lofty fabric? Think first about the foundations of humility. The higher your structure is to be, the deeper must be its foundation
Greatness requires a lot of organization, strong foundations, hard work, and more work and more work. So help them with it.
4.1) Getting the team fully synchronized. We use daily stand ups to get the team in sync; show them how to do it. What I used to doing is listen first and when they are done I ask the Product Owner, do you mind telling us, in a sentence, where we are in the sprint? Then, I ask the same question to the team. After that I ask permission to share some tips about how to do it better and always explaining why that is so important. Then I show up every day during the first sprint until they repeat some of the advice that I’ve given. Then I leave them alone.
4.2) Establish some alliances and common ground attitudes. In the first meeting together, I ask them to collaborate so we can establish a protocol that will allow us to communicate better when working together in a meeting/Scrum Ceremony.
4.3) Being flexible. Have fun when doing all of this, add music to your meetings, make the environment relaxing, make it easy to join in, smile as much as you can, bring some toys and colorful objects to the room, and remember that we all want to have a little fun.
4.4) Focusing on what’s important. A lot of discussions will take place, some of them will be important others won’t. This is not the right time to focus on details; this is the time for performing, so be there to facilitate the change and keep the team focused.
And something really important, allow ‘you’ to learn from this. If you have the privilege of being in a situation like this; take the time to enjoy the ride and learn as much as you can. 😀
I’m curious about what you have done to make the team succeed; do you mind telling me? I want to learn from your experiences too!
Well, I have more to share about this subject; so if you are interested let me know and I’ll do Part II of the article.
Thank you for reading and encouraging me to learn.
All the best,