Using Scrum to solve complex problems requires increased levels of interaction and collaboration between people to achieve shared Product and Sprint Goals. When people form a Scrum Team they have to figure out how to become a real team, rather than a collection of individuals.
To become an effective Scrum Team, the team members will need to learn how to share responsibilities and work together. They will need to learn about each other’s personalities, traits, skillsets and experience levels. They will need to establish the rules & norms for the team.
Whilst many teams do this informally over time, It is not always an easy process and there is often conflict along the way. When rules governing interactions remain unwritten, the following often occurs:
- The rules will be ignored, forgotten and understood differently by individuals.
- The rules will be harder for a new Scrum Team member to learn.
- The rules will be harder to improve incrementally through inspection and adaptation which Scrum requires.
This can all create frustration in the Scrum Team and sometimes they can struggle to move past this to become a performing team.
A good complementary practice to Scrum to help with this is to create a Scrum Team Charter – A clear statement of how the Scrum Team will collaborate including things such as their rules, norms, values and principles. Making these things transparent early in the life of the Scrum Team can accelerate them to becoming a high performing team.
The Scrum Team charter should be:
- Created by the Scrum Team (rather than supplied by a Scrum Master or external management.
- Agreed & committed to by the Scrum Team. Getting everyone to agree can be a challenge. Some people may need to be willing to disagree but still commit to items in the charter.
- Used by the Scrum Team moving forward. Don’t create it and forget it. Use it to challenge behaviours.
- Improved Incrementally. The Sprint Retrospective is a natural time to do this.
- Simple & transparent. Keep them small enough to be understood and visible enough to not be forgotten.
It may take some time to create a Scrum Team Charter that works for the Scrum Team. People may need to be encouraged and supported to do it. The Scrum Master may need to facilitate its creation.
Below is a Scrum Team Charter Canvas that was created by a team I worked with recently. With their permission, I have shared it. We hope it will help other Scrum Teams to create a Scrum Team Charter. Please provide your feedback on the Scrum Team Charter Canvas via the comments section below. I will then incorporate the best suggestions and release a new version of the canvas in due course.
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