Author: Denise Meyerson
CEO of The Focus Learning Group / a Multi-Award Winning Training Company / Telstra Business Women’s Awards Finalist
Your organisation has undergone the transformation in to the agile way of working. Agile teams have been formed and projects are underway.Daily scrums or stand-ups are underway and there are many sprint reviews and retrospectives taking place.
What can you do from a learning and development perspective to support your scrum masters so that they are a set of tools to implement during these meetings? The meetings are critical for the success of agile roll-outs and so much hinges on the ability of the scrum master to be able to form a strong team and to create the right climate. In order to complete the transformation to agile, the teams themselves need to avoid a fixed mindset.
It’s imperative to grow the scrum master’s toolkit of strategies and techniques to ensure that each meeting has value in terms of moving the sprint or the overall project forward and at the same time, keeps the team at a high level of functioning. The scrum master has so much complexity and ambiguity to deal with that a set of tools that they can dip in to at appropriate times makes all the difference to building towards success.
Here are some examples that you can immediately implement for your scrum masters:
I am thinking here of skills that are needed immediately as new systems and processes are initiated. I am referring to onboarding where an overload of information is just not recalled at a later point. I am giving a call out to compliance training which needs a huge wake-up call and doesn’t require hours of painful clickety-click learning where no one seems to recall a single thing after the elearning session. Be honest – own up anyone who remembers what they learnt in one of those elearning programs.
When the team has hit a few challenges, my favourite team activity is ‘Fortunately / Unfortunately’. It’s a great way of re-framing what hasn’t worked out as intended and switching from thinking in a negative way in to being more optimistic. The activity doesn’t take longer than 2 minutes and you will notice an immediate change in mood.
- This activity helps us to re-frame what we may see or hear as a negative into possibility.
- You can pick a theme that is fun or of a serious discussion such as changes that are occurring in the workplace or any issues/concerns that team members are facing.
- Have the group stand in a circle and start off with an “Unfortunately…..” statement. Then encourage group members to come up with a reframe “Fortunately……..”
- Continue until you have worked through as many as you can within the time frame you allocate for the activity.
- This activity can initially be challenging and you may prefer to start off with fun statements or statements that pertain to a more general nature such as “Fortunately, this week we had great weather”. “Unfortunately I have my in laws coming over tonight”.
- This activity can be conducted with a big group of 10 or more or split into smaller groups.
Suggested questions for the debrief:
- What came up for “Unfortunately…” and how did you re-frame what was challenging?
- What possibilities did you come up with?
- What did you learn that you can take back to your work?
- Why is it so important to be resilient and to see where the positives in the situation are?
Activity #2 Balloons
- Create an atmosphere of fun and laughter with this activity as the team works to keep the balloons in the air.
- Ask the group to form a circle and have each person blow up two or three balloons.
- Toss the balloons out into the circle and have the group keep them up in the air without using their hands.
- Alternatively provide one balloon for each person, without using hands or forearms, have the group find ways to keep all the balloons off the ground.
Suggested questions for the debrief:
- How many balloons were we able to keep up in the air?
- What worked? And What didn’t work?
- What communication if any did we use with our team members?
- What would we do differently next time?
- How can we take what we did and translate it in to actions for the coming day/week? How does this help us to build ourselves in to a better team to deliver on our backlog / expectations?