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Working Agreements for Scrum Teams

This piece deals with collaboration as human beings, so when ideas for documenting technical processes arise, put them in the parking lot. All team members working on the project must commit to the working arrangements they have worked on and agreed upon. So if someone breaks the rules, others have the right to remind that person of their obligations. A work agreement is a short set of guidelines created by the team for the team that determine what the team`s expectations are for each other. A well-written agreement should help establish and strengthen a clear and shared understanding among all team members of what they recognize as good behavior and communication. It is usually called a single “work arrangement”, but in reality it consists of many individual agreements for each topic or theme. Working modalities reflect a team`s common understanding of how individuals and the team as a whole want to work with each other and their stakeholders. Steve starts asking about the agreements proposed in his first area of interest: the daily Scrum start time. After all possible working arrangements, it uses the Decision-making Protocol[2] to quickly seek consensus. If there is no immediate consensus, the person who said “no” to an idea suggests what they think is better.

When several people have a problem, everyone is supposed to offer a better idea. If too many people say no, the applicant should consider withdrawing the proposal. In the case of Steve`s team, the team has its first working arrangements after 20 minutes: here are some of the answers you might expect in the “brainstorming” category. Note that some are too specific or process-oriented to be work arrangements. These five agreements must be posted in the common space of the team. Before the working agreement session, collect the issues the team is currently facing, either from a table of obstacles (see example), a retrospective, or simply known challenges. Bring them and share them during the session to inform the working modalities. A remote campaign team reflects and votes on the working modalities they will commit to and gather feedback in Confluence.

Each rule for each area that you need to define with the agreement is placed on a sheet of paper and displayed in the shared workspace. If the team is working remotely, it must be digitally accessible to all team members. Reminding each other of the solutions you have agreed on will become natural, and many problems and frictions will begin to disappear. Every few sprints, the work agreement should be updated, often by revising it retrospectively and asking a question such as: “Is this still our working modalities? What do we want to update? Which areas need new agreements? Team agreements are required at each sprint ceremony. Agile teams are known for being productive and achieving great results. But each team working on a project is a set of personalities who may encounter difficulties in collaboration and communication. Open the meeting by explaining to the team that you, as a group, will create a set of behavioral agreements to lead the collaboration. Ask the team: Team agreements can be defined and agreed in a meeting moderated by the Scrum Master. The different steps that can be performed during this meeting are: prepare, reflect, sort, categorize, accept and refine.

Team agreements create clarity and mutual expectations in a social system. They can also increase productivity and create mental freedom. By making implicit social expectations explicit, team members focus on real and sincere interactions, immerse themselves in creativity, and let go of social anxiety. In this way, work arrangements help teams shape their ideal and productive environment and avoid misunderstandings that lead to conflict. Working with people can always lead to occasional misunderstandings or arguments. Having multiple people in a team means different habits, schedules, and work styles, all of which can lead to unproductive moments in our agile development project. To avoid these potential problems, we recommend that you create work arrangements. Evaluate yourself against eight attributes found in high-performing teams to understand your team`s strengths and weaknesses, and then track your progress. Working conditions are an essential part of each team`s journey towards more and more self-organization.

In this step, help the team enrich their work arrangements with aspects they may not have thought of. The following questions may be helpful: The Scrum Master should ask the team every few sprints if the working arrangements need to be updated, changed, or if another is needed. If the Agile team can`t find common ground in any area, you should discuss this topic the next time you talk about how to work. The team demonstrates an increase in functional product to the product owner and any other interested person. The product owner reviews the commitments made at the sprint planning meeting and explains which points they now consider to be completed. These software developers discuss how they work for Zoom and use Trello to capture input. This is just a summary of the elements – there are many others that may be suitable for different environments. Understanding each team`s weaknesses and creating work arrangements for each of them is the best way to save time and excitement and reduce unproductive discussions so that the focus is on achieving optimal results. Other work modalities include: “Documentation for critical tasks” (the team schedules them as a subtask in the schedule, if necessary) and “Identify dependencies” (to identify dependencies early on and document them on tickets, whether in prospective meetings or planning meetings). In Scrum, we usually have a Scrum Master, a Product Owner and the rest of the team in the room.

When it comes to working arrangements, it`s important to let everyone talk and put forward their ideas – it`s not the manager`s duty to create them, it`s a task based on teamwork. Work arrangements are the rules/disciplines/processes that the team desperately wants to follow in order to become more efficient and become the self-managed aspect of Scrum. These agreements help the team gain a common understanding of what it means to work as a team. At the beginning of each sprint, the product owner and team hold a sprint planning meeting to negotiate the elements of the product backlog that they want to convert into functional products during the sprint. Towards the end, the team divides the selected items into an initial list of sprint tasks and finally commits to trying out the job. In this step, clarify what the moderator team needs to fulfill these work arrangements. Ask participants the following question: “What do you need from me as a Scrum Master to create the atmosphere described above?” […] can help groups overcome the difficulties, social frictions that teams encounter. If you read Scrum for example – Team friction inspires work agreements, you will learn how to overcome it […] Ask everyone to work on your work arrangement – everyone on the agile team must be present when it is created. No one can impose it – not even the Product Owner or the Scrum Master, every team must feel responsible.

In the next retrospective, Steve mentions some of these topics and says he wants to talk about improving their environment. Tonia shares that she knows that another of her peer teams has created her own work arrangement to reduce some friction and improve respect. Recording questions help participants mentally arrive in the meeting and get in the mood for the topic with an emotional understanding of their colleagues right now. For a workshop on team agreements, the recording questions can be as follows: Tell us about a team you worked in that felt successful – what were the characteristics of this team? When you think about teamwork, what positive qualities appear in your head? Positive psychology suggests starting every meeting with something true and positive, as this helps the brain stay in a solution-oriented model. This is especially useful for a workshop with a work arrangement – suggest to the team that everyone works to stay on the positive side of the discussion on the recording issue. Give your participants three minutes to think about the question (maybe let them add stickers to a real or virtual board), then encourage each participant to share for one minute. Make sure each participant gets the same box of time to share and avoid comments on shared stories. A friendly smile and thank you before moving on to the next stock works well. Of course, it all depends on the team, but you can use work arrangements for the following topics. If you have a small team (4 people or less), ask each person to write two agreements. Work arrangements, also known as team standards, are guidelines developed by teams on how they should work together to create a positive and productive process.

After the brainstorming session, the Scrum Master informs the team that they need to select the five most important ideas as work arrangements based on the votes. It`s a good idea to give each team member three or five votes and ask them to vote for the board agreements they deem crucial. There are no official rules for writing agile team agreements, but we can give you an example of a respectful and productive work process that leads to great results. If you`re a Scrum Master, use your intuition, powers of observation, and knowledge to help everyone get through this process. In all the teams you can work with, there will be confident people and more reserved people – you are responsible for listening to each other and encouraging everyone to take responsibility for the work arrangement and be satisfied with the result. What else needs to be said? It is important to remain silent for a few moments at this point. .