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QoW: Does your Scrum Team have an Agile Mindset?

Updated: Feb 16, 2022

Scrum recognizes three roles. These include the Product Owner, the Scrum Master, and the Developers. Together they make up the Scrum Team. For Scrum to work effectively, the team must have an Agile mindset. But what does it mean to have an Agile Mindset? The Agile mindset starts by embracing the values and principles of the Agile Manifesto. These include:

The 4 core Values of Agile Manifesto:

1. Individuals and interactions over processes and tools.

2. Working software over comprehensive documentation.

3. Customer collaboration over contract negotiation.

4. Responding to change over following a plan.

The 12 Values of the Agile Manifesto:

1. Satisfy the customer through early and continuous delivery.

2. Welcome changing requirements, even late in development.

3. Deliver frequently.

4. Have business people and developers work together daily.

5. Give motivated individuals the environment and support they need and trust them to get the job done.

6. Communication through face-to-face conversation.

7. Make working product the primary measure of progress.

8. Promote a sustainable development pace.

9. Enhance agility though continuous attention to technical excellence and good design.

10. Measuring progress by the amount of completed work.

11. Continually seeking excellence.

12. Harnessing change for a competitive advantage.

A Scrum team must also embrace the Scrum values. As outlined in the Scrum Guide:

The 5 Scrum Values:

1. Commitment

2. Focus

3. Openness

4. Respect

5. Courage

So how can we put these values and principles to work to have a mature Agile team?

There are two aspects that I often see take a back seat in an agile transformation.

Is your Agile team cross-functional?

A cross-functional team possesses the necessary skills to deliver a product or service increment at the end of the sprint. This means the members necessary to design, build, and test the increment should be a part of the team. Part-time team members will yield part-time results. So ideally, the team members should be full-time members of the team. This reinforces the Scrum value of focus. A component team is one that focuses on a specific part of the product creation stream. Component teams depend on other teams or on external developers to complete the product creation stream. This is the opposite of a cross-functional team and should be avoided.

Does your Agile team practice self-management?

Fear has been shown to negatively impact employee participation and innovation. Organizational power is having the capacity or ability to act in certain ways or impose your will on others. In an Agile organization, leaders give power to their teams by allowing them to act instead of taking power from them by imposing their will. They do so by encouraging decentralized decision making that is supported by psychological safety. For teams to be self-managing, they must be empowered to decide what they want to accomplish, plan how they plan to accomplish it, and put their plans into action. This includes a Scrum team having autonomy to define the product goal, the product’s needs, and working together to deliver them. In its basic form, a self-managing team member has little managerial interference and is empowered to be a free thinker and doer.

The path to an Agile mindset can be found in the Agile Manifesto and the Scrum Guide. Be sure to understand t

hem, build cross-functional teams, an create an environment where they can self-manage.

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