Scrum Agreements

 6 October 2021      

This story of self-discovery traced the journey of a team of geographically dispersed and culturally different people. It shed light on the process of how they discovered hidden obstacles to create a better working environment for their team. They reached a moment of revelation that helped two distant groups ally and work together as a team. Their agreement was formally part of the team`s culture, with a series of working agreements binding them. The following table summarizes what I learned as a coach. Now that the team was more comfortable, they were better able to communicate and exchange ideas on ways to improve. Over the next iteration, more and more barriers fell as trust improved. The team met several times to propose improvements. At that time, everyone was getting used to working together and we were all excited because we felt like it was an opportunity for the team to reinvent themselves. We now needed to discuss how to change our work and communication styles, meeting times, etc., to accommodate most, if not all, of our team.

An idea of using Scrum values to make it easier to find ideas has become our main concern. The team felt that integrating scrum values would help them perform well. I didn`t want to contradict him! Getting us to use focus, openness, respect, courage and commitment as generators of ideas actually helped move all the following meetings forward. These five agreements should be exhibited in the common space of the team. When the list of the most important ones grew, everyone was ready to formalize them as the first working agreements in the team rules. While we had analyzed several ways to improve our observation of scrum values, we wanted to start slowly and just add what everyone had agreed to be there. We have also agreed to make our working agreements a living document that has evolved to reflect new knowledge. The process was simple, each person submitted two proposals to take into account, we voted and selected the top 10, which became the ten commandments of the team.

By sharing my story, I hope it will inspire others to realize that the process of developing the working agreements has highlighted opportunities for collaboration and guidance that have helped a distributed team deliver better value. Please note that while I am unable to reveal the name of the company, I can only tell you that it is a Texas-based financial services company. The names of all parties have been changed to protect privacy. The team members draw up the work agreements themselves. The Scrum Master may have to play the role of facilitating the meeting that is held to conclude working agreements, but it is the team that decides on the agreements. The team also checks them regularly at retrospective meetings. Team agreements can be defined and agreed in a meeting facilitated by the Scrum Master. Different steps that can be accomplished in this meeting are: prepare, brainstorm, sort, categorize, approve, and refine…