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Yes, 4 Toxic Accountabilities Can Derail Your Scrum Team

A scrum team is self-organized, but sometimes misleading accountabilities can derail their productivity. People doubt how a team can work without a leader. It is the Scrum Master that ensures that the teammates take their responsibilities seriously. In this article at DZone, Fabio Panzavolta shares four toxic accountabilities that can derail your scrum team.

Misleading a Scrum Team

A Scrum Master must strengthen loyalty, belief, and grit in the scrum team. Without the team working as a unit, you cannot achieve any goals. You need to trust that team members are giving their best. It takes grit to stand by each other and experiment with new things. However, the author noticed some toxic accountabilities during his team’s development cycle. Here are the four toxic liabilities that he warns could derail your scrum team:

Despotic Product Owner: The product owner dominates the meetings and forces the scrum team to overperform. The resultant effect is the team members focus on quantity rather than quality. Gradually, they acquire technical debt. With a decrease in morale, there is an increase in employee turnover.

Bossy Developers: In a scrum team that depends heavily on technical skills, developers hold the sway. The IT team does not care to understand or align with the business goals. The teammates believe their capabilities produce enough value for the product. A senior developer might be the PO for the team and focus more on technicalities than the values clients expect.

Scrum Master Acts Like a Project Manager: Project managers look after the time, cost, and budget of a project. While managing the team, they tend to control every aspect of it, including decision-making. Though the Scrum Master substitutes in the absence of a project manager, the majority of the decisions remain pending. The scrum team has not yet learned to own tasks, so it depends on the project manager for every step it takes.

The Management Makes Team Decisions: Not the PO, developers, or scrum master, but the senior management that decides. Panzavolta marks it as the worst scenario of toxic accountability.

Overcoming Toxicity:

The Scrum Guide divides team accountability among the PO, the team, and the Scrum Master. To improve accountability, below are the steps you can follow:

  • Refer to the Scrum Guide while describing roles and responsibilities.
  • All need to agree with the role definition.
  • All are responsible for their role and help others to fulfill theirs too.
  • All need to know about Scrum values and inculcate a culture of trust and learning.
  • All should adapt to situations faster and audit the working style when necessary.

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