Agile Software Development

How to Create Scrum Teams that Don’t Disintegrate

If going through all the prescribed scrum ceremonies were enough to make a team agile, there would be way fewer teams getting stuck in the transition. The shift in process must be accompanied by other good decisions in order to be successful. In an article for Scrum Alliance, Mariete Sequera Hernandez describes the factors that will make agile stick.

Pursuing Permanence

Selecting the wrong people to be scrum masters or product owners will doom an agile project from the start. Scrutinize which individuals have the skills to best champion scrum practices and to effectively communicate up and down channels. Try to apply similar rigor to deciding who should encompass the initial scrum teams in general. Which people will feel most comfortable working together in a strange new environment? When the teams are formed, set clear and realistic expectations for how they are expected to work together and what scrum will do for them.

Hernandez frames the evolution of scrum teams over time via the familiar forming/storming/norming/performing framework. Scrum masters will do well if they actively watch for these stages to unfold in their team. In the forming stage, people are just meeting each other and reading out the situation. In the storming stage, people feel more comfortable being themselves in front of each other, resulting in a colorful commingling of personalities. The scrum master can take advantage of this phase to promote discussion and put imaginations to good use. This is also the phase where the scrum master can learn what “intrinsic factors” are motivating individual team members. In turn, the scrum master can reward team members according to those factors, which will make employees happier and more productive in the long run.

Here is how Hernandez describes the norming stage:

Team members tolerate the idiosyncracies of others. Their effort to move forward is apparent. Now that things seem to be calmer, the ScrumMaster can start proving his or her findings about intrinsic motivators. At this point, the ScrumMaster must have a plan for each team member and for the whole team. The plan should contain strategies that will act as catalysts to improve performance at every level (individual and team).

Finally, the performing stage is basically the moment of “We have arrived.” The team is running smoothly, making confident estimates, and is generally a good embodiment of scrum. This is when the scrum master can rest a little easier—though not on his or her laurels. You can view the original article here:

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One Comment

  1. Excellent topic of discussion, well described by Mariete Sequera Hernandez. John thank you for sharing this information with us.