Agile/Scrum blog

Onderwerp: Culture

Needs of High Performing Teams

Alex van der Star Door: Alex van der Star,  20-05-2016
Onderwerp: Agile Management   agile  Agile Coaches  Agile Coach  Agile Teams  Culture  Development Team  High Performing Teams  Scrum  Scrum Teams  Team Happiness  Team morale  What motivates people  zelfsturende teams  

The needs that High Performing Teams have

In my previous blogpost, I wrote about the characteristics of High Performing Teams. To come to these characteristics I did a small literature review. For this part, I will establish the needs that need to be filled in in order to enable teams to become high performing.

Remember, I am still talking about a team of knowledge workers developing and maintaining a software product.

Characteristics of High Performing Teams

Alex van der Star Door: Alex van der Star,  14-04-2016
Onderwerp: Agile Management   agile  Agile Coaches  Agile Coach  Agile Teams  Culture  Development Team  High Performing Teams  Scrum  Scrum Teams  Team Happiness  Team morale  What motivates people  zelfsturende teams  

How to create high performing teams

This is the first blogpost in a mini-series of three in which I explore actions that Agile coaches or Agile managers can take to create high performing teams. I focus on high performing teams that consist of knowledge workers creating a software product.

It looks like we are in the middle of a social revolution equal to the scale of the Industrial Revolution of the 18th and 19th century. We’re seeing more and more self-organizing teams that make their own decisions within boundaries set by organisational direction, strategy and/or vision. The benefits seem clear, teams that take ownership simply perform better. But what is exactly the mechanism behind this? Is setting a certain corporate direction and giving freedom to self-organising teams enough to end up with high performing teams?

Childish motivation

Martijn Dehing Door: Martijn Dehing,  11-02-2015
Onderwerp: Agile Management   Agile Teams  Culture  High Performing Teams  Scrum Teams  zelfsturende teams  

Many of my friends are already or soon-to-be parents. Watching their children learn new things in a pace so fast that even Usain Bolt seems slow caught my attention. All of them are really quick in using their dad’s smartphone, the family iPad. Even the SmartTV gets wizzed through as if it has always been there. When you give them your old family photo album they expect to slide through it, just like an iPad. Even for me it is sometimes hard to follow, let alone their grandparents. The learnings that don’t come naturally, so it seems, are the things that they have to do by school, their parents or life itself.

So what are the intrinsic motivators to cater for this fast pace of learning? Could these be used as well in an adult environment, say e.g. a Scrum Team?

Scrum: A Five-Headed Meeting Monster?

Barry Overeem Door: Barry Overeem,  25-01-2015
Onderwerp: Scrum  Culture  

When Scrum is introduced in a company, most of the time, the development team embraces it with lots of enthusiasm. Scrum embodies self-organizing, autonomous, multidisciplinary teams that acknowledges individual qualities and reinforces the strengths of the team as a whole. Who doesn't want to be part of a Scrum team?

Quite often however, after the Scrum honeymoon period, I start to hear comments like:

  • "Since the introduction of Scrum, all I do is attend meetings. I didn't become a developer to attend meetings all day long."
  • "With Scrum I hoped we would get a team culture, but instead it feels more like a meeting culture."
  • "I thought Scrum meetings we're time boxed, but for example our daily Scrum takes at least 30 minutes and afterwards we still don't have a solid plan as a team."

Team Culture over Project Culture?

Barry Overeem Door: Barry Overeem,  19-01-2015
Onderwerp: Scrum  Culture  Team  

Recently I read the book 'The People's Scrum' by Tobias Mayer. In this book he spends a chapter on describing the differences between project culture and team culture. To me, the given examples of both types of culture are highly recognizable and I can easily extend and complement the list of examples with my own experiences. And this is basically what this blog post is all about, my view on the project- and team culture.

The Smell of the Place

Barry Overeem Door: Barry Overeem,  08-01-2015
Onderwerp: Culture  

A few months ago I first saw the brilliant speech 'The Smell of the Place' by Prof. Sumantra Ghoshal. It's about corporate environments and the faults of management in creating a positive work place. In organizations, it's all about the context. This has a huge impact on the behavior of employees. In his speech he uses the example of downtown Calcutta in summer, this place makes him feel tired and lazy. The opposite is the Fontainebleau forest in springtime, which makes him feel energized.

My colleague Wouter van der Meer created the workshop the 'Smell-o-Meter' around this video, which helps in defining the different smells of an organization. As Prof. Ghoshal puts it: "changing people's behavior is not about changing people, but changing the context which they are in: the smell of the place."

In this blog post I will shortly describe the examples that are presented during the speech and define some smells that I have interpreted and experienced in organizations.