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Team Dynamics Influence the Scrum Master Role

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Team Dynamics Influence the Scrum Master Role

There's more to being a Scrum Master than you may think. One of the aspects you have to keep in mind is your team's dynamics. Team dynamics can influence your role on the team.

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Scrum Master's task loads often vary and are dependent on the team and its current dynamics. The 4 major stages of team dynamics and the corresponding relationship of expected performance level can be expressed as the following picture:

Figure 1: Team Stages and it's expected level of performance.Figure 1: Team Stages and expected level of performance.

A Scrum Master must be able to recognize in which stage his/her team is currently at. The team dynamics not only have a relationship with the Scrum Masters' workload but also it enables different types of tasks. The team stages are not permanent for any team. If a team achieves reaching the performance stage, that does not ensure that the team will maintain that stage forever.

Often a team conflict creates disruption in a well-functioning team and may eventually lead to the team falling back to Storming phase. It is strongly advised to resolve the conflict as soon as possible, empathetically. Even smallest issues may, in the long run, cause more permanent damage, like lack of trust.

Below, the table shows an example that can be used to identify different stages of a team and the Scrum Masters' possible tasks with respect to team stages.

Stages

Stage Characteristics

Scrum Masters' Task

Forming

Teams' vision is unclear so as the responsibilities of team members. Often team members would be answering questions like:

  • Who participates?
  • What are we going to do?
  • How shall we do it?
  • Who are we referring to?
  • Who shall make the decision?
Introduction of participants and the clarification of basic terms, objectives, vision, and values. Try to define clear responsibilities and expectation for each team member.

Storming

Coordinating, resolving difficulties regarding establishing common understanding, roles, and procedures. Showing difficulties to make collective decisions, conflicts are taking place for individual pride.
Conflict resolution, dissolution and the development of team-specific common understandings of roles, routines, etc. Try to arrange team building activities.  

Norming


The team establishes a common understanding, roles, and procedures through agreements and self-assessment. The community will be established and each individual will accommodate himself. Encourage development of the team-specific common understandings, roles, working, etc. Encourage the development of one team.

Performing


 The team can primarily concentrate on getting the job done well instead of procedures, cooperation, and organizing. The cooperation works and there is less talk about process and self-assessment. Encourage work performance through a focus on excellence, potentials, new targets, etc.

Table 1: Tuckman’s Team Development Model including Scrum Masters' interventions.

Figure 2: Team's performance and Scrum Masters' task load relationshipFigure 2: Team's performance and Scrum Masters' task load relationship.

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Topics:
agile management ,agile development ,team management ,scrum master ,team building

Published at DZone with permission of Zakaria Khan, DZone MVB. See the original article here.

Opinions expressed by DZone contributors are their own.

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