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Business and Project Leadership Often Serves as Career Counselors and Advisors
When companies don’t have deep Agile methodologies, teams can struggle initially and even continue to experience problems as they grow organizational usage of Agile. It is not uncommon for leadership to hear the following comments, questions, and concerns:
- I have a scrum team that is not thriving. What can I do to help them?
- A scrum team seems to be struggling, and I don’t know why or what to do to help them.
- I can’t figure out why this team can’t be successful. What would you suggest?
While it may be apparent to even non-Agile leaders when an Agile team is not working well together, the real question is not whether they know it, but rather what can leaders do to help? If an Agile coach or seasoned Scrum Master isn’t available to help, this article discusses six areas to uncover when assisting struggling Agile teams.
1. Find Out What’s Working and What’s Not WorkingFind empirical evidence on the difficulties the team is experiencing. Determine if it is one team member or the entire team having trouble. Look to see if the problem lies outside the team. Perhaps the source of the difficulty is a company leader or external team member removed from the team. Understanding all perspectives and roles of each person expressing challenges is vital. Next, understand the evidence for the lack of success and listen deeply.
2. Confirm if Everyone on the Team Received the Same Agile TrainingTransformation training often takes place and team membership shifts significantly, and new team members do not receive the necessary training. Make sure the team has access to that training or recordings. Determine if offline training is available to all or just a few team members. Review the opportunity for the entire team to take a refresher training session.
3. Make Sure Teams Perform Scrum CeremoniesOften, teams will pick and choose the ceremonies they want to perform. By doing this, they are missing out on the purpose, value, and function of those ceremonies. Make sure they understand each of the ceremonies and the value they bring. Check if they are going through the motions to check a box.
4. Confirm Teams Have the Proper Project Vision Needed To Perform Their WorkEnsure the product owner describes the customer vision and business goal at Sprint Planning. Double-check if work requests are being translated into Stories and prioritized in the backlog. Ensure the team understands story sizing and velocity. Check if the team negotiates with the Product Owner/Manager when needed. Lastly, place a Scrum Master on the team that actively works with the team.
5. Let Teams Own and Show Accountability for Their WorkEngage external leaders on direct or redirect work requests after the Sprint Planning phase. This will tell you if a team is engaged or not. In addition, ensure that the team is allowed to be accountable for the work. Check if other impediments haven’t surfaced yet.
6. Make Sure Teams Feel Good About Their Work Environment
Double-check that Sprint Retrospectives provide a safe and transparent time to discuss successes and challenges. If team members do not feel comfortable speaking freely, their problems will get buried only to surface later.
How Nisum Helps Companies Achieve Business Agility
Nisum provides a measured approach to Business Agility that helps companies continuously improve their business confidently and sustainably. Nisum is an experienced partner who orchestrates measurable, holistic Agile transformation anchored in cultural change and enabled by technology excellence.
Nisum has a team of full-service certified agility experts who seamlessly integrate with clients from a cultural and mindset change perspective. Using our unique Scrum-Team-as-a-Service model and proven methodology and digital measurement tools, we elevate businesses at any level of transformation and maturity.