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Re: [scrumdevelopment] Working with people and teams

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  • Victoria Thompson
    Hello Wouter, Thank-you for sharing this information. I am working to improve retrospectives for my teams and will apply your suggestion in the next one, to
    Message 1 of 10 , Feb 12, 2012
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      Hello Wouter,

      Thank-you for sharing this information.  I am working to improve retrospectives for my teams and will apply your suggestion in the next one, to help surface these things and get them treated by the group.  I am studying Management 3.0 also, which gives some ideas and shows how the environment is an important influence, just as you mentioned.  


      Kind regards, 
      Vicky

      On Wed, Feb 1, 2012 at 8:42 PM, Wouter Lagerweij <wouter@...> wrote:
       

      Hi Victoria,


      Self-organisation doesn't happen magically, and progress towards it can be very easily undone.

      You obviously have some feeling on what is in the way of self-organisation. Maturity of the team can certainly play a role. Usually the environment plays at least an equal role. Focus on retrospectives, on surfacing issues that the team feels should be fixed. Get them to prioritise those, and to actually take some of the solutions into the sprint as high priority work. Scrum the scrum, as I think Jeff Sutherland calls it. Often, as people get the feeling that the issues they bring up get fixed, especially if they're doing the fixing themselves, they start taking a more active role. 

      Wouter


      On Fri, Jan 20, 2012 at 3:31 AM, Victoria Thompson <vickysp@...> wrote:
       

      Hello!

      I am new to the group and I am interested in discussing certain difficulties I have found in applying scrum and agile principles.

      What has been worrying me recently is how to effectively get a team to be self-organized and ultimately self-managed.  Despite that many people on the project signal they like this approach, they do not collaborate for this result.  As scrum master, I feel that I should help them attain this level of teamwork, but I believe that some people's individual values and maturity levels conflict with this.  Has anyone had to deal with a situation like this?  Is it necessary to have some level of command-control and graduallly reduce it as the team matures to attain self-organization?  I don't like the idea of doing that because that is not what is expected from a scrum master and it goes against my own values, so I am a bit at a loss about how to go about improving the team, which seems not mature enough to self-organize even with when given the information and tools necessary to achieve that.

      Victoria Thompson




      --
      Wouter Lagerweij         | wouter@...


    • Victoria Thompson
      Joshua, That s a great idea! I will try it out, it will probably make the team more aware that it up to them to keep things flowing well. Thanks for the
      Message 2 of 10 , Feb 12, 2012
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        Joshua, 

        That's a great idea!  I will try it out, it will probably make the team more aware that it up to them to keep things flowing well.  

        Thanks for the suggestion!

        Vicky

        On Wed, Feb 1, 2012 at 10:12 PM, Joshua Partogi <joshua.java@...> wrote:
         

        I usually use retrospective to ask this question:
        "what can we do as a team so we can self-organize?"



        On Thursday, February 2, 2012, Wouter Lagerweij <wouter@...> wrote:
        >  
        >
        > Hi Victoria,
        >
        > Self-organisation doesn't happen magically, and progress towards it can be very easily undone.
        > You obviously have some feeling on what is in the way of self-organisation. Maturity of the team can certainly play a role. Usually the environment plays at least an equal role. Focus on retrospectives, on surfacing issues that the team feels should be fixed. Get them to prioritise those, and to actually take some of the solutions into the sprint as high priority work. Scrum the scrum, as I think Jeff Sutherland calls it. Often, as people get the feeling that the issues they bring up get fixed, especially if they're doing the fixing themselves, they start taking a more active role. 
        > Wouter
        >
        > On Fri, Jan 20, 2012 at 3:31 AM, Victoria Thompson <vickysp@...> wrote:
        >>
        >>  
        >>
        >> Hello!
        >>
        >> I am new to the group and I am interested in discussing certain difficulties I have found in applying scrum and agile principles.
        >>
        >> What has been worrying me recently is how to effectively get a team to be self-organized and ultimately self-managed.  Despite that many people on the project signal they like this approach, they do not collaborate for this result.  As scrum master, I feel that I should help them attain this level of teamwork, but I believe that some people's individual values and maturity levels conflict with this.  Has anyone had to deal with a situation like this?  Is it necessary to have some level of command-control and graduallly reduce it as the team matures to attain self-organization?  I don't like the idea of doing that because that is not what is expected from a scrum master and it goes against my own values, so I am a bit at a loss about how to go about improving the team, which seems not mature enough to self-organize even with when given the information and tools necessary to achieve that.
        >>
        >> Victoria Thompson
        >
        >
        >
        > --
        > Wouter Lagerweij         | wouter@...
        > http://www.lagerweij.com | @wouterla
        >
        >

        --
        @jpartogi


      • Victoria Thompson
        Hello Gary, Thank-you for clarifying the distinction between self-organized and self-managed. I work in Brazil and certainly, as in the US, we don t easily
        Message 3 of 10 , Feb 12, 2012
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          Hello Gary,

          Thank-you for clarifying the distinction between self-organized and self-managed.  I work in Brazil and certainly, as in the US, we don't easily find examples of self-managed teams.  It is practically an utopia, although it would be nice to see more organizations capable of it.  Unfortunately, my country's government is an example of bad use of self-management.  My aim at the moment is to attain good self-organization and continually develop team competence to accomplish work with increasing levels of excellence.

          I particularly liked your idea of the three lists (things they want to decide for themselves, things they want your help with, and things they want you to decide).  It links in a way to Jurgen Appelo's delegation levels and that should give the team a clearer view of what they have accomplished in terms of self-sufficiency and what still lies ahead. As soon as I have the opportunity, I will try it out!

          Your comments have got me thinking about several things I can start doing, continue doing and stop doing as a scrum master.  Thank-you for these directions, they have given me more fuel to continue on the agile transition in my company.  I would like to have upper management more supportive of these changes, but that is another story, which I think is sometimes more difficult than developing teams to be self-sufficient!  My company is enormous and changes happen slowly.  It has been quite an achievement to be able to start using scrum in a bottom-up approach and now I see that the upper part needs to learn the importance of these practices so that we can be fully agile.  Our main impediment is that the company still has a waterfall approach in other departments outside of development and we suffer from the lack of official POs, having instead a series of people between us and the final customer.  That is the main challenge we are trying to overcome at the moment and for it we must convince upper management to make the necessary changes.  I am concentrating my efforts on that front too, but I am not certain if I have the backup to be successful.  Either way, it will be a great learning experience and if they are not willing to give it a try, another place will and welcome people who can make it happen.

          Best Regards,
          Vicky


          On Wed, Feb 1, 2012 at 11:14 PM, Gary Brown <glbrown@...> wrote:
           

          Hello, Victoria!



          Quoting Victoria Thompson <vickysp@...>:

          > Hello!
          >
          > I am new to the group and I am interested in discussing certain
          > difficulties I have found in applying scrum and agile principles.
          > What has been worrying me recently is how to effectively get a team to be
          > self-organized and ultimately self-managed.

          To me, self-organized (we use the term self-directed in my
          organization), means the team determines the best way to accomplish
          the work.

          To me, self-managed means the team does the above and adds HR
          responsibilities like hiring, firing, performance appraisals, setting
          salaries, awarding bonuses, etc. Few US employers or their employees
          are up to that level of empowerment/responsibility. Maybe you are not
          in the US. 8^)


          > Despite that many people on the project signal they like this
          > approach, they > do not collaborate for this result.

          I think that many people like the idea of being self-organized, but
          they don't really know what that means, and they have some fear about
          being responsible for their results. You need to ease them through
          the transition.

          To me, the way to do that is to set attainable expectations and
          measure the results. The way I do that is to have a (sometimes really
          long) meeting and make three lists, things they want to decide for
          themselves, things they want your help with, and things they want you
          to decide. Post them on the wall, where everyone can see them.

          In the beginning, they won't get the mix quite right. That's OK.
          Have retrospectives every week, inspect and adapt. Allow them the
          freedom to make mistakes and learn from them. Over the long haul,
          what you want to do is to teach them how to be self-sufficient. In
          reality, that will never happen. The list of things they are willing
          and able to decide for themselves will grow. That is a good thing!
          Other things will be added to the lists on the middle and the right.
          You will continue to teach them how to be self-sufficient. In about
          fifty years, they won't need you any more. 8^)


          > As scrum master, I feel that I should help them attain this level of
          > teamwork, but I believe that some people's individual values and
          > maturity levels conflict with this.

          The biggest mistake I have seen with Scrum Masters in my organization
          is trying to manage the team. Set expectations, measure results,
          inspect and adapt. Every thing that you do for them (or to them) is
          something they are not doing for themselves. Allow them to
          self-organize and make decisions. It will be chaotic in the
          beginning, but things will work out.

          To me, the number one skill for a Scrum Master is patience, followed
          closely by the ability to humanely hold people accountable for
          results. Yes, you can do it! 8^)

          More importantly, to me, the most important responsibility of a Scrum
          Master is to teach the Product Owner(s) how to work effectively with
          the team. In many traditional waterfall or ad-hoc processes, there
          are a number of people standing between the PO and the team. Business
          analysts, project managers, development managers, architects,
          designers, team leads, etc. In Scrum/Agile, we would like the PO to
          work directly with the team every day. Teach them how to do that.


          > Has anyone had to deal with a situation like this?

          Just those of us who have to deal with humans! 8^)


          > Is it necessary to have some level of command-control and graduallly reduce
          > it as the team matures to attain self-organization? I don't like
          > the idea of > doing that because that is not what is expected from a
          > scrum master and it >goes against my own values, so I am a bit at a
          > loss about how to go about >improving the team, which seems not
          > mature enough to self-organize even with >when given the information
          > and tools
          > necessary to achieve that.

          You can't improve them. Each team member will decide in their own
          time and their own way, when and how to improve. I know it may not be
          popular to say, but some people will decide not to improve. Recognize
          them and replace them. They will prevent your team from improving.

          You can do this! 8^)

          Gary Brown
          Evil Old XP Coach
          Agile Processes Director
          CARFAX, Inc
          Columbia, MO

          ----------------------------------------------------------
          This message was sent using IMP, the Internet Messaging Program.


        • Victoria Thompson
          Hello Jack, Yes, I agree with you that coaching is essential for the teams, especially new ones. I realize I have to improve in that aspect and have been
          Message 4 of 10 , Feb 12, 2012
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            Hello Jack,

            Yes, I agree with you that coaching is essential for the teams, especially new ones.  I realize I have to improve in that aspect and have been reading a lot of material on the subject to be more helpful to the teams.  Do you have suggestions of articles, blogs, books, etc that could help me with that?  So far, I have read Lyssa's book "Coaching Agile Teams" which is a very useful guide.  I feel I need to know a lot myself so that I can help my teams, but it is something that takes time.  I am trying to influence people in my teams and also in other teams or departments, to study agile practices that interest them so that we can exchange knowledge.  I have a limit to the amount of information I can absorb and pass on, so until I have had time to read a few more books, participate in events and trainings, I am trying to parallelize the knowledge gain.  It seems to be having an effect.  I am planning also on doing several short presentations to interest more people to get on the learning track.  I hope to be able in the future to coach 20 teams as you do!

            Kind Regards,
            Vicky

            On Thu, Feb 2, 2012 at 12:28 AM, JackM <jack@...> wrote:
             

            So here's my advice. If you leave a new scrum team to fend for themselves, it's not going to go well. I have found that the best way is to coach the team through the learning curve slowly relinquishing control. There's a lot to learn and it takes time for teams to get used to this new way of working.

            But I urge you to coach the teams. Play more of a facilitative role, help them through the issues.

            Be the guiding light. I manage 20 Scrum teams and still continue to coach the teams and provide input where required. But way less now that they have the hang of it.

            Jack
            www.agilebuddy.com



            --- In scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com, Victoria Thompson <vickysp@...> wrote:
            >
            > Hello!
            >
            > I am new to the group and I am interested in discussing certain
            > difficulties I have found in applying scrum and agile principles.
            >
            > What has been worrying me recently is how to effectively get a team to be
            > self-organized and ultimately self-managed. Despite that many people on
            > the project signal they like this approach, they do not collaborate for
            > this result. As scrum master, I feel that I should help them attain this
            > level of teamwork, but I believe that some people's individual values and
            > maturity levels conflict with this. Has anyone had to deal with a
            > situation like this? Is it necessary to have some level of command-control
            > and graduallly reduce it as the team matures to attain self-organization?
            > I don't like the idea of doing that because that is not what is expected
            > from a scrum master and it goes against my own values, so I am a bit at a
            > loss about how to go about improving the team, which seems not mature
            > enough to self-organize even with when given the information and tools
            > necessary to achieve that.
            >
            > Victoria Thompson
            >


          • Gil Broza
            Hello Vicky, You ve received some great answers here. I m working on a book these days, and your questions are exactly what my target reader would ask. Kindly
            Message 5 of 10 , Mar 1, 2012
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              Hello Vicky,

              You've received some great answers here. I'm working on a book these days, and your questions are exactly what my target reader would ask. Kindly take a look at http://www.GetGilsBook.com, and if you find it interesting, let's connect through there and I'll send you pertinent sections and chapters.

              Best regards,
              Gil Broza
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