Archive for August, 2011

Agile coaching circle – Team dysfunction

Just thought I’ll pop this in here – discussion points from our coaching circle.

”We accomplish what we understand. If we are to accomplish something together, we need to understand it together”. Ron Jeffries

Alacrity agile coaching circle –  Monday, 1 August 2011(18:00 – 19:30)

Goal: Building better teams – how to recognize dysfunction

Session backlog:

What is a dysfunctional team and what could cause this?

 No trust – uncomfortable with each other, don’t admit weaknesses, never ask for help

Don’t want conflict – scared to challenge others opinions

Command and control leadership style – PO assigns work

Team members ‘fence sitting’ – individuals making team decisions

The blame game

Lack of commitment– teams members fail to achieve clear decisions and action steps

No accountability – team members do not confront each other around behaviour that do not conform to agreed decisions

No team ethics – individuals put their own needs ahead of the team

No empowerment – teams are not allowed to make decisions on the work they do

What are the early signs the scrum master should look out for?

 Quality of delivered work starts dropping

Teams are given ‘deadlines’

No participation in activities

Everyone pulling in opposite directions

PO’s are line managers

PO doesn’t allow the SM to guide the team

No vision from the PO

No transparency

There is no sprint goal

Team communication patterns are tense

Team is not part of the decision-making process

There is no free flow of information


How do we fix this? Can we?

 Create that safe space where all can be treated as equals

Encourage all to work together

In the retro – role play other teams members showing what it looks like from the outside (this might need a high level of team maturity)

Highlight the positives and celebrate achievements

Display model behaviour – SM must practice what they preach

Get back to basics

Start respecting yourself & others

Always follow-up on retro action items

Make things visible

Trust building exercises


When the going gets tough?

Obtain assistance – outside intervention

Attempt to establish the root cause

When all else fails, get rid of the bad elements


Reading material – The Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Peter Lencioni

Next session:

15 August 2011 (18:00) – no apology then we expect to see you

Topic as agreed by the group:


Facilitator: Pieter (will advise if prep work is required)

here are some pics taken (apologies for the handwriting)



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