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Effective teams -individual focus with Daily Goals

Hi :)
When it comes to effective teams, there’s always lots of things one should experiment, and from my experience implementing small consistent changes in both the team and also in each individual, has been the most successful approach.
I believe from my experience that one cannot expect to change the whole system without first influencing parts of it.
So, one small practice I experimented  before to keep team the aligned on the Sprint goal was trying to keep the  individuals focused on a small step towards the sprint goal, all I did was to ask each team member to write down his Daily Goal. Of course the daily goal needed to be in alignment with overall sprint goal (through the tasks), and we aimed for measurable, understandable  and achievable goal.  Examples: “I will test the user login” , “I will ensure the user login is password protected”, ” I will create the connections to the mock user database”, ” I will create the connection to the real database”…
So everyday, during stand up, the team member would also review his goal from previous day and explain if it had been achieved or not.
If not that means one of these 3 things:
  1.  The daily goal was too big to be accomplished in a day- if so then we need to work together on setting up smaller achievable goals (“baby steps”)
  2.  We had an impediment and couldn’t solve it or trigger action in a proper time – that means we will need to work on our communication flow and or the mechanisms we use to unblock teams  or it also could be related to  how important (priority) or not it is for the organisation to unblock the team.
  3. The daily goal had unknown work associated to it – this will be a great opportunity for us to work on improving our Requirements Workshops (or Grooming) and/or start using more spikes (investigation tasks) so that we can understand a little better the depth of our committed goals.
In regards of the team emotions and reactions when using the Daily Goals, what I have noticed with using the Daily Goals practice was:
  1.  People start thinking a bit more on which work should be picked up next (paying a more attention to any possible critical path and reflecting on the overall goal)
  2. They also sync a bit more as a team – because when thinking about what one should  pick up next, the team member normally asks the team what they think would be best.
  3. Everyone has a greater feeling of achievement, and everyday feels like real progress towards our objectives.
  4. Becomes easier for team members who don’t have depth of knowledge in a certain area to still understand the progress towards the common goal – example is if rather than explaining with detail (jargon) the technical progress during last day, one says simply that the goal of “Getting the user details from the database” is done and can now be tested with real data. This is an important piece of information for everyone in the team and as it is, it will be understood and known by everyone attending the daily standup*! [including the poor scrum master :0)]
  5. Lots of brainstorms and conversations around best architecture/solution to task ahead – with everyone genuinely interested and participating, maybe because the talks are around the goal so everyone understands the topic being discussed  – (just make sure it does not disrupt the stand up, if a brainstorm/conversation needs to take place, them suggest it is done immediately after daily standup)
  6. When not achieved, team is supportive and jumps in to help if the delay is due to bigger workload than expected or even lack of knowledge.
  7. Because each members writes the goal in front of the other team members, they all become a bit more vulnerable to each other, which helps out with building trust!
  8. When the goal is not achieved due to impediments outside the team, then as a Scrum Master, or Product Owner, Team leader, Manager or any other process/structure related role, you have real data and facts to help you understanding what is blocking the team progress and productivity – this is really important information when it comes to start changing the whole organisational system towards it being a supportive structure for the development teams (development teams  as in the teams that are developing the company core business, not exclusively software development teams)

So, give it a try if you feel that your team sometimes goes too technical and some common ground is missing. And let me know what you perceived, how it worked out and of course improvements! :)

And remember: there are no such things as ” The Best practices”,  what we have is good practices in a certain context, so keep inspecting and adapting!

Have a awesome day :)


*This is really really an important point, because sometimes we all assume that everyone understands every jargon but actually the opposite is more of a fact.  Product owners  not always understand the bit language from developers, or even testers, and when this happens it may also happen that tests will not start immediately because people didn’t understand that the functionality is ready or even decisions may be delayed by Product Owner, because he/she did not understand the progress, hence did not trigger some needed action.



Notes to self

Your work is not just your work anymore. Probably it never was.

Your work is also your life.  Probably the biggest part of your life.

But your work is not you: it is also you.

Having that in mind here are some notes for you my dear me:

  1. Sometimes you trust people too much.
  2. People lie. Yes they do. Don’t be stupid. And, they have personal agendas.
  3. You like recognition. Yes you do, whomever says different is a liar, or a fool.
  4. People who lose your trust most likely will never gain it again. I know. Sorry but you can’t help it.
  5. You’ve won your right to be here . No one will take it from you. Except you.
  6. You are lucky. Life itself  conspired to have you here. Right now. In this moment. You are alive. You are the product of billions of years of evolution (whatever that means).
  7. You are not perfect, You are unique.
  8. Theory of constraints: the chain is as strong as it’s weakest link. That is you also.
  9. You scan before reading. If you don’t see headings or list of topics you most probably won’t read it. Articles should have distinct areas so you can land your  eyes somewhere. Remember this when reading something important.
  10. “A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new.” – Albert Einstein
  11. Don’t stop trusting people. Once in a while someone deserves it..and it’s f*** rewarding.
  12. If you are not happy, move. Nothing can stop you. Nothing. No, not even you.
  13.  You have no weaknesses: you are what you are. Be aware of yourself as a whole
  14. Experiment- it’s fun! and you love it, you know that.
  15. Don’t let yourself be bullied with politeness. Be yourself always: damn transparent.
  16. Keep saying what you mean. Keep meaning what you say. There’s no greater form of love and respect than this (for self and others).
  17. Keep asking for forgiveness when you find you are wrong, or not completely right. There’s nothing wrong with it. If you cant be forgiven at least you tried. And if you can’t be forgiven, they maybe you were right after all.
  18. Keep doing your jokes, whomever doesn’t like them can fuck off (note 16. (tick!)). Humour is intelligence.
  19. Stop writing notes to self. Unless..

Scrum Master Tip #7 – Small improvements for greater Scrum teams

Hi :)

Christmas is gone but I have a gift to you, a rather small one, but as it happens with almost anything in life, great things come in small packages (cof cof cof) . I’ll write about some small improvements I’ve done before that actually helped my teams a lot in finding their path and maintaining a sustainable pace.

Sometimes it is not easy to make big changes in a team, but you can do small things that will tailor the way they work and slowly will guide them in their Agile journey.

So, let us start small and make our great teams a little better. :)

1- Scripting the Scrum Events

A good thing I learned from a fellow coach was to keep a Script describing the events. You can add these in your team wiki or (my preferred way) print it and put it on the walls. Examples (and they are just examples – you should write down whatever makes more sense for your team):

Planning Part 1  (PP1) Script

  • Starts at 10 am every second Monday ( next : 23 Dec )
  • Scrum Room
  • Product Owner Explains next User stories (next priorities) for the next Sprint
  • Teams clears out any remain doubts
  • Team ensures Definition of Ready is fulfilled (check here)
  • Team and  PO review DoD
  • PO is available for any questions during Planning Part 2

Planning Part 2  (PP2) Script

  • Starts right after Planning Part 1
  •  Team Space (in front of our team board)
  • Team creates all tasks to make sure US is ready for delivery at the end of Sprint
  • Team agrees on what can be committed for the sprint
  •  Team agrees with PO what will be delivered at the end of Sprint
  • At the end of PP2, Team board should have the committed stories and task visible and ready to start

DEMO Script

  • Demo starts 14pm sharp on last Friday of sprint (next: 3 Jan)
  •  Everyone is invited to come
  • Team should prepare Room and needed material before hand   (don’t forget HDMI cable!)
  •  PO will approve or disapprove stories
  • Participants are invited to provide feedback on Demoed Stories
  •  PO will consider feedback as he may find suitable

(For the demo Script is especially important if you give hints regarding the preparation of the room or devices if it is required to have a special setup)

You can script whatever events you have (including the Daily stand-up – you can write down the time it starts and where) and make it visible. Scripts are not only useful for the team but also for our stakeholders, making this information clear in team’s room avoids lots of questions or even ignorance – if info is available and transparent to all, they will most probably read it as they pass by and so become aware of how team works and when and how things happen.

2-  Working Agreements and Team values

Since we are talking about hanging stuff on the wall, them let me tell you that it’s also very important to make visible both the Team Values and The Team working Agreements.

You can read more on How to set the Team Values here and also get some examples of both values and agreements here.

If they are there on the wall, people will constantly be reminded of the things they, as a team, value and expect from each other. It’s very healthy ;).

 3-  Definition of Ready

During these last years I’ve found lots of people never heard about Definition of Ready (including Scrum Master). As such, my advice is for you to define this with your team  (which includes the PO) and make it clear and visible to everyone (yes, print it and add it to the wall). Definition of Ready will, among other things, avoid many misunderstandings and fights when User Stories are not ready to be started.

4- Buglog for Bugs

When you have lots of legacy bugs and no chance to stop production and refactor all, then I found the Buglog very useful.

 5- Parking Lot

I’ve seen teams use this, and I’ve use it myself to park topics we cannot discuss right away. For example, imagine there is a topic you want to discuss with the team but only on Daily Stand-up and you don’t want to forget it, then you put it in the parking lot.

We also used it to put impeded things (when impeded by externals and we have to wait, we removed it from the backlog – informing immediately the PO, and added it to Parking Lot, as long as it’s waiting for the other teams to solve it). It’s also, and as I used it most, a good place to add items you want to discuss in Retrospective.

Here’s my template for parking lot


If you want you can user my File:  parking lot

One of these days I’ll write more about scaling scrum and my experience with it, but for now I’ll leave you two simple tips for when you are scaling or have several teams who should synchronize – if not regarding the product, at least regarding their practices and experience.

6- Communities of Practice

I found this very useful. You create a community of Practice (Cop) out of anything you want as long as you have people who want to join you. Cop of Scrum Masters, Architects, Developers, Testers, etc – (role oriented) or CoPs which are function oriented like CoP of Design or CoP of architecture.

I’ve seen Scrum Masters Cops where Scrum Masters would advise and help each other with issues in their teams and also synchronizing ways of working. I’ve also seen for example CoP’s of Architecture defining Coding standards and Coding Guidelines as well as Design CoP’s defining GUI standards. So you see, as long as you get motivated people on board, the CoP will always create valuable things for everyone!

7 – Scrum Of scrums

I don’t like Scrum of Scrum’s and I personally don’t see a need to book another meeting for this. But again, this is my experience, yours is different and that is ok. Let me tell you what I do instead.

When I have more than 1 team working in same backlog or in same product and they need to synchronize regularly what I ask them is for them to send a representative to the other Daily Stand ups. So, Joe from “Team Awesome” goes as a representative of “Team Awesome” to the daily stand-up of “Team Incredible” and if he has anything important to tell them he waits until the end and them shares, also when he has is team daily stand-up he let’s his team members know about important things going on ” Team Incredible”.

With this there are no extra meetings, people get to know each other and create bounds and people hear directly from each other what is going on, without intermediaries who may shorten or not explain so well (or without context) the things happening.

Ah! And we rotate this team representative so that it’s not always the same one going.

And there you go, some small improvements you can do right away within your team. All, in the end, you’ll be surrounded of beautiful meaningful walls too!

Have a nice Agile 2014 ;)


Creating your Scrum Cards – Free Template


Hi :)

So after writing about how I prepare my templates (Creating your own Scrum Cards) for the team to write down User Stories, Bugs, Tasks and Improvements, I got some requests to make my template available.

So here it is : US-Bugs-Task-ToPrint (excel format).
Normally I print them using the coloured paper I want (the colours I use are in the Sheet name) and then just cut them in batches using a paper cutter.

In case you you don’t have coloured paper you can just fill out the cells with the color you want and print it in a Color Printer.

Hope it makes your life easier :)

Let me know if I can help you or provide something useful for you.

Catia Oliveira

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Turning Dysfunctions into Actions – Fighting the 5 Dysfunctions of a Team

Hi All :)

I just got this challenge today, from a colleague of mine, to convert my post   5 dysfunctions of a team  into something  positive we could show people without  scare them.  So rather than just posting on walls why we suck, the challenge is to post something that would make us think about it and maybe even make us do something to improve it.

So, @ghostrich: Challenge Accepted!

Let us turn the 5 Dysfunctions into Actions that will help people  grow their teams into the most awesome teams ever. This post  will, as you’ll figure out,  replace the post I promised about how to fight the dysfunctions :), so I’ll use that idea plus the challenge and combine all in one because it makes totally sense.

Disclaimer: all you may read here is not in the book, I mean, some ideas may actually be there, I read it long time ago so I don’t remember how much of my brain is influenced by it. Either way I honestly believe that whatever you see below is solely the product of my poor brain. As such feel free to disagree, within the boundaries of respect, and don’t criticize by saying the same with other words, i’m not an English native speaker ;). Before exploding ask me what I meant, that is after all the first step we’ll be talking about: Trust.

As always, a picture to enlighten us :) :

5growing steps

Let me now tell you how I see these steps and what we can do to help people go from one to the other.

1- Trust

Trust in you, trust in others. Don’t start your day with suspicion in your heart and mind, trust everyone is doing the best they can with the information, time and  skills they have.

Ask before answering. Above all ask before criticizing. I know it’s not easy, I preach about this now and probably I’ll say something unfair to someone in the next hour, but I’ll try not to.

Now, there’s a trick to start trusting others more and more. You have to start trusting yourself  first. If you trust yourself, your judgment, emotions, fairness, then you can afford to trust others and  you won’t feel vulnerable because you know you can take it whatever happens.  I’ll tell you something, and I can do it because I trust myself and my judgment to tell this in the open, some years ago I had this, let us call it epiphany. I realised that what I perceived as my “weaknesses” where  actually “weaknesses” because I rated them as that.  Two important observations or events changed my mind about weaknesses. First I observed that what I considered as a weakness, most people wouldn’t see it that way and some of them  hadn’t even noticed them before I talked about them. The second thing, and  most important for me, was that I realised that after talking openly about my weaknesses they suddenly became strengths at the eyes of others, and most importantly at my own eyes. Problems were no longer problems after being released in the open, they were mere facts or simple situations, not that important or that I could actually solve pretty easily.

So there you go. Don’t mistrust others just because you actually can’t trust yourself. Work it out, work out your self-confidence, think about how lucky you are of being here, reading this. How many billions have passed since the beginning of earth, imagine how any slight change in any even occurred until now would have easily changed your chances of being here, right now.  You don’t think about that often do you? You should.

As my great number 1 friend and  number 1  preferred reviewer would add:

In case you do trust yourself and are highly confident on your skills, don’t fall in the trap of being judgmental. Yes, some people judge others that have doubts calling them rookies and being inconsiderate by getting also into the presumption that everything they do is so very well done and obviously clearly documented. Don’t do that. Some people may be stuck on something that may be obvious for you, but because it is not obvious for them, that does not mean they are less intelligent or capable.  – @pintolaranja


How to get there (some examples):

–  Practical advice for companies? Do Culture Hacking Workshops with your people. If you do so, choose one of the best, here: (@OlafLewitz), (@mccarthyjim1) and (@siraju)

–  For individuals, you have several places where these people do free workshops (there’s one happening  this week  in Berlin for example – I’m going!) , meditation is also something people recognize as positive for you to embrace your strengths and not so strong points :) – I’ve never done it, sorry I don’t have enough patience to be quiet for an hour :/

– Ask for help when you need. Just do it. Give it a try. Or if someone else bolder than you is asking for it then offer your sincere help.

2- Nurture discussions

Discussing inside a team is the most important mean of communication. You  discuss priorities, decisions, opinions, emotions (maybe regarding your cat or your fear of not delivering on time), all very important for you, as a team, to take action and plan how to, together, fight adversities. That’s why we have team too right? So that we have more perspectives on stuff.

Yves wrote in his blog about the Power of the Junior and it’s really interesting when you think about it, how powerful is someone who has the nerve :)) to do the stupid questions. I normally embrace this role very well, and that’s one of the reasons I let go my technical skills and focus more on the soft skills nowadays. Being away from the IT entrails gives the clarity of mind to embrace the End user perspective and allows me to do stupid questions. The funny this is,  I’m never the only one who says ” Ahhhhhh” when my stupid question is answered.

Stupid questions are really powerful. They will focus on things everyone assumes that are there by default. And they will also demand a most simple way to understand the answer. Rather than that ugly jargon you geeks use. (;P)

How to get there (some examples):

– Ask questions, lots. Make sure all angles are covered and sum up all the answers, so that you guarantee that everyone is in the same page. You’ll be surprised how, after 1 hour discussing the topics, 2 or 3 people understood something different. Make sure everyone can speak up without regretting it 2 seconds later.

– Take in consideration how humans learn . With this in mind try to not only talk but actually do things, prototypes, drawings, flowcharts, whatever. Pick up your pens create stuff.

– Doesn’t matter which framework or process you are using, take your team out. Go for a beer and talk  frankly about things you could make better as a team, with no blaming just a friendly talk of small steps we could take in order to change some things. If you’ve never talked to your team, of if they are not used to do this, then just take them out for a beer and talk about sports. Leave the improvements talk for the next round, try  to create some team momentum first. And please, take care of the action items they give you, if you ignore them, then you are telling people to stop giving you ideas, feedback or point out impediments.

3-  Commit

 Commit, Commit, Commit! Take the Challenge! :) Really , do it. It is the best way to excel, to learn new things. If you don’t feel comfortable in taking all on your shoulders, then ask for help, ask someone else to share this with you. Take the lead and make it a team challenge. 

But don’t commit because you want to show off. If you think your light is brighter then of the others around you, then you are doomed. No one will help you. I wouldn’t. I won’t. Don’t take your personal agenda or ambition above the others, of course we all want to be good, but we don’t need to be better than the others. I’ll explain: we need to be better, but better than ourselves, not the others. Again goes to trust. If you trust yourself, you’ll set your own standards on what you can achieve, not what others can.

I personally am very reluctant to help people who think they can use me or others to shine. I wish them luck, but i am not a ladder. Nor a mule to carry others. Weakness? No. strength. My standards are different and so I’m better than I used  to be.

My wise friend added:

Remember that not everybody is comfortable in taking the first step to ask questions. It is nice to state that you should be brave and expose yourself in this vulnerable manner, but still there are those who will be more reluctant in taking the first step. Ultimately, we are also all responsible for identifying people that have difficulty to overcome this and take the leap of faith, be the ones to start trusting. Be an example. @pintolaranja

How to get there (some examples):

– First thing: Set clear goals for everyone. People need to understand what you want from them in order to get there.

– Try to set Team goals above all. Personal goals should not be bound to salary increases or whatsoever. Personal goals are an investment. Team goals are, goals, objectives, targets. That’s how i see it (at least now while writing this post to you).

– Talk about how the Team should commit to challenges, you may even define your own commitment procedure :). Do it together, it will most probably be very fun.

– Last thing is: Commitment is better when shared, it’s also  stronger and wider. When shared, commitment is no longer something we have to, is rather a bound, something we want to. Lights are brighter together. 

4- Be accountable

Commit whole heartily to things and then be accountable for them. Do your best. Take ownership of results. I was once taught about the origin of the words Responsibility and Accountability. The person explained me that Responsibility can be broken in 2 (as Accountability can). I still use this in some of my trainings when i see people can’t distinguish both.. let us see if you find it helpful to:


So responsibility is our own ability to provide a response to something.


Accountability is then our ability to take something into our account. To own it.  So you can be accountable without being responsible.. you may not know how to respond to something, but, BUT, you will ensure it will be responded. That is accountability.

Useful? :) I found it too :)

How to get there (some examples):

–  The team should define what will you all be accountable for (as a team).

– Don’t be afraid to be accountable for things, even when it’s not in your job description. Embrace the challenge, ask for help, make things happen. If anyone can do it, that is you. Set higher standards for you. As someone said:  Challenge your limits, don’t limit your challenges.

– Help others who step up. Help others to step up! Don’t criticize. If you could do it better then you could have taken the challenge before or help that person. Either way you should be quiet rather than criticizing. (unless it’s a show off, then you can throw stones)

– Managers: make sure people are not crucified when taking accountability or responsibility on something. Protect them from unfairness. People will do their best, with the time, information and kills they have available.

5- Focus on Results

There’s much that can be said about this, and you probably heard it a lot of times. So, this is already a long post I’ll try to provide a newer perspective.

@ChristopherAver author of “Teamwork is an individual skill“, starts by explain why teams are created in first place. And I think this is the thing we forget more often and we shouldn’t. Teams are not brought up because of the people in them. Teams are created because a product is waiting to be created.

Remember this, work can and should be fun, but we go work everyday because we need to create something. Can be a pair of shoes, a presentation, a new App, create awareness, or change a mindset.. Doesn’t matter: either way, whatever product or service it is, you are there to create something (or maintain). It is then most expected that results actually matter.

How to get there (some examples):

– Team objectives, goals. Get together and plan on how to achieve them. track them, take notice of their progress. Make them happen. Achieve together whatever exist to be won over! :)

– Aim for your Team to be a reference in your company. Share that status together. Set the bar.

And there you go, transforming 5 dysfunctions into 5 things we can aim for. And they are not that difficult to obtain right? If only you could make everyone else act this way..

What can you do right now?

.. and you can.

Start small.

Most important, create Intention in your team.  Tomorrow morning, casually tell them the one thing you would like to change in your team in order to make it better.

Then every time you see something going against that intention, point it out and make sure you all find a way of not letting t happen again.

Do it as my colleague, to whom I’m writing this post, does: Slowly sometimes, steadily always, but never give up.

See ya ,


Ps: @ghostrich , I wrote this post because more than just doing it in our trenches I think you deserve to see online your awesome challenges and disruptive thinking online. This is in the end the most simple way I have of  honoring your work and effort and thank you for never giving up. See ya around!

To the rest of you that are still reading this, get up and go do some magic!

Ps2: I had another epiphany today: I found out I’m capable of changing the world. As long as this happens before 5 ;).

PS3: Thank you again @pintolaranja for your sincere feedback :) you are one of a kind.

Dysfunctions of a Team

Hi  :)

Today I want to share with you part of  what I’ve learned with this amazing book  from Patrick Lencioni –The Five dysfunctions of a Team – which I truly recommend you to read. Doesn’t matter if you are a Scrum Master, developer, tester,  manager or other, as long if you are a person capable of reading and if you work with other humans, then read this book as  it will help up understand why sometimes things happen in a certain way.

I’ve just captured, roughly, some precious information from the book and match it with my experience, and that’s what I’m sharing with you today. Hope it’s helpful :).

So, let us start with a picture ( for me the best way to convene information :) ) showing the 5 dysfunctions of a team according to Lencioni.


Let me now explain you what this means.

1- Absence of trust  – Invulnerability

This is the first dysfunction of a team: The absence of trust among the team members.

You may find several causes to this but the main as written by Lencioni is our human need to feel invulnerable. It is part of our survival instinct to avoid being vulnerable to others, including the people with whom we work daily.  We try to survive inside a team by not showing vulnerability.

How do you detect this? (some symptoms)

– They do not talk about mistakes (bugs, bad code quality, wrong requirements, … you see people hiding trouble and trying to fix it before anyone notices

– They do not ask for help (for fixing stuff or figuring out something, nor to pair work for example) nor offer it (or if they do they do it in a way they are just showing off how good they are)

– They assume things as for example that other’s mistakes where on purpose or because of lack of skills.

– Normally these people try to ruin retrospectives, by being sarcastic or making fun of others when they try to speak up.

2- Fear of Conflict – Artificial Harmony

Because we want to be invulnerable we are afraid of conflict so we avoid it at all costs. This creates a false sense of harmony inside the team, which people will seek in order to avoid confrontation.  I don’t  know about you but I’ve  joined teams who looked awesome together,  looked like they were all happy, very friendly to each other and in the end I discovered all this was a bit fake. People were just pretending, playing  social games in order  to maintain an appearance of harmony . The problem with this is that not only it is fake, but it will also burn out people who have to maintain it (play this game to be accepted) and it will, dangerously, take the problems to another level. People will not openly discuss stuff, there’s a sarcasm battle instead. People will smile but say the most hideous things while smiling, and pretend all is good. So, in the end nothing is really discussed, problems will always be avoided or  ignored or under estimated . I even had  the experience of people saying I was actually imagining or even creating these problems. This is a very tricky situation for a Scrum Master but later I’ll tell you what you can try in order to deal with this (when you cannot fire or move those who are  pushing for this social gaming).

How do you detect this? (some other symptoms)

– Nothing is really discussed (in retrospectives or other meetings). You feel everyone is avoiding the hot topics and are just going around or not speaking at all.

– Office politics substitute open dialog. People start speaking about other’s failures or lack of skills not openly but behind their backs or in a way they look like they are kidding but they are actually hurting someone’s else pride.   (Guerrilla strategy)

3- Lack of Commitment – Ambiguity

If there’s no trust inside your team, if there’s a false harmony then as a team member you’ll not feel totally committed. You’ll most probably just play along. Actually if people avoid open discussions then there can’t be a real buy-in from them,  and organisation objectives versus  personal objectives will be very ambiguous.

How do you detect this? (some symptoms)

– No one takes the lead. If someone does (example a team leader because he has to or someone that still believes in change)  then that person is dragged down with problems, with a negative posture from the rest of the team.. “that won’t work because…” rather “..that may work and…”

– Long meetings discussing things to detail, with no final decision or sincere commitment from team members. You’ll see that nothing happens after the meeting- no action items will evolve or be delivered.

4- Avoid Accountability – Low standards

So, if there’s no trust, no discussion and no real belief in the objectives, you’ll avoid to be accountable for anything. Team members feel both their sphere of influence and concern is very very small. If no one feels accountable then no one will try to help  others become better, setting the whole company in lower standards.

How do you detect this? (some symptoms)

– Criticism towards people who actually take responsibility on matters or who perform better.

– Excuses to take responsibility on something, normally these excuses are something like:

” I don’t have the necessary empowerment from the company to do this”

” If I try to do this, other people who don’t want to take responsibility (not me of course) will not help but rather push me down and make me fail miserably are asking me to do the impossible, this is a poisoned gift”

” I will never be able to do this with this kind of people around me. I don’t have anyone caring as much I do”

or simply : “That’s not part of my job description”

5- Inattention to results  – Status & Ego 

This inattention to results means people don’t care anymore about company results, people will most probably focus on their own individual objectives as they know they’ll be accountable for these. And so the most important is not to make the company succeed but rather maintaing your status. The so called personal agenda:). Unfortunately I’ve met some people like this during my life, but sometimes we need to understand it’s not actually all their fault, some companies create such a dysfunctional environment that these things are mostly normal to emerge.

How do you detect this? (some symptoms)

– They do  not care with team results, rather care on fulfilling their personal goals.  And when you ask how did they succeed so well in personal but failed on team level, they’ll tell you they did their best but the team is so bad that they couldn’t do anything else to improve it. (This sometimes is true, or part of it.. but if everyone in the team says the same, then it’s a team problem and everyone is responsible)

– Low performing team: not delivering what they promised.

– Focus more on the “I” than on the “We”. You notice this when they open their mouth.

So this is it. I don’t want to make a bigger post out of this, you should definitely read the book.

Later I’ll post about how you can fight these things if you are interested.

See ya


Ways of communicating, how we learn

Hi :)

I’m back.

While going through one of my presentations I found this slide with such  important information that I want to go through it again and above all share it with you.

It’s not something new, but I’ll just write it down here, even for my own sake.. for those days when I want this info and I can’t find it anywhere among the zillions of pages in the web.

This is about how we communicate with each other. In other words the so called Cone of Learning (or Cone of Experience).

There are some nice pics in the web, but because I don’t want to go over any copyrights, I just draw this one for us (I like to put it on the  wall for all our teams to see it and

maybe reflect on it) . You can also use it as you please (within the limits of decency ;>)

cone of learning

And this my friends is why we use things like the 3’cs when writing user stories or specification by example when analysing and defining stories.
In my very own opinion that’s why Scrum Masters should always try to coach people rather than just focusing on doing the Scrum Master stuff. We should aim to teach people to do stuff than just do it ourselves.  Doing is the best way to lean and keep knowledge in our big and wise human brains.

So there you go. Lesson to all of us. We should spend our time DOING meaningful things ( as in things that matter to you, things you are passionate about) . It’s the only way we can actually make that little dent everyone talks about.

If you want to know more about it: here , here and lots of images here.

Have a nice day,


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