Agile teams work on problems where the outcome is not clearly defined, where requirements are changing during the project as well an experimental approach is used to solve problems and where changes in requirements are always welcome. With so many unknowns, the only known that determines project success is the team working on the project. People are at the heart of every successful agile project, be it development team member, scrum master, product owner, sponsor. And trust is at the heart of these people’s interactions.
Why is it important in Agile teams?
Webster dictionary defines trust as “assured reliance on the character, ability, strength, or truth of someone or something”
When a team is self-organizing and self-managing and working to deliver a working product every 2 weeks, a reliance on character becomes essential. Trust needs to be in many levels of interactions. When trust and respect are missing the whole system pivots from collaborative to managerial. Team members need to feel psychologically safe to report the true progress and impediments during standups, product owners need to trust the team has done their best in the sprint, sponsors need to trust the scrum master and not get into the weeds of the project.
How do we build trust in SVPM?
Fail fast Learn fast – Our leadership team firmly believes in the mantra fail fast and learn fast. At the kickoff meeting, the first thing we learn is this is a safe environment for you to fail, learn, and adapt. There is no learning without failing. We have many team members at the meeting who speak about their personal stories of strife and triumph to encourage others.
Transparent communication – Slack is the primary method of communication. Each team has a channel and team members are encouraged to post any questions, issues in the channel. Our Scrum Coach Earl Fong is a stickler to this practice. His lead and initiative encourage open think tank-type discussions that are focused on learning and sharing our learning.
One – One meeting with team members – With new volunteers every sprint the team is always storming, scrum masters meet with team members individually to understand interests, strengths, learning interests, etc. This enables the scrum master to create an environment that is best suited for the team as a whole and as individual members.
Psychologically safe retrospectives –This is probably the most important meeting where team members need to be comfortable enough to truly share what went well, what went wrong and ideas for improvements. Trust probably plays the most role in this team. The stage is set by encouraging team members to embrace a positive spirit, not make it personal and listen with an open mind. The team gets to vote on their top 3 action items and the leadership team will then work to get these initiatives implemented in the coming sprints.
Let us know how you build trust in teams in the comments.
2 thoughts on “Building trust in teams – SVPM way”
In my team, I encourage honesty and open communication and I made feedback part of the teams culture. This means that members of the team know that they have a safe space to air view, struggles in meeting team goals and that they can trust their teammates to always be available to offer solutions. With feedback as part of the culture, it has ensured that there is a clear flow of information leading to successful completion of tasks.
For me the first building block of trust is respect and empathy. Often if you lead with empathy and respect for the people around you and the lived experiences they have you will find that it is much easier to gain trust from them. Showing trust earns trust. With that it has been found in my experience that If I set clear expectations and define the parameters of the task we are completed than It allows team members to flourish both in decision making, but also in learning the practicality of something.