You’ve heard it before. “Our team doesn’t need a Scrum Master or Agile Coach. We’re a mature Scrum team.” These words are rarely a reflection of what is truly happening with the team. Too many teams feel they’ve reached the end of their Agile journey and only need to go on cruise control. That mentality is a huge red flag that the team is not truly “mature.”
Do you think your journey is complete?
Agile journies don’t really end. Agile journies are like trying to reach the horizon. You never truly get to the end of that journey but you learn things along the way. Teams that think Agile journies come to an end are a lot like companies that think they can coast and not innovate. As soon as they believe they’ve got it made and don’t need to grow that is when they’ve failed. Innovation and growth are essential to success.
To help move away from this mindset be sure to call out that Agile is all about inspecting and adapting. This isn’t something a team stops doing. If it feels like the team is stalling during retrospectives, encourage them to dig deep. Try leveraging retrospectives like “5 Whys” to find the root of their pain points.
Do you think your team has worked together so long that there is no need to grow?
The team has been together for months or maybe years. They know one another well enough that they can communicate with ease. They haven’t added a new team member in a long time. They’ve been together so long that “we have always done it this way” gets used quite a bit. Does that make them a “mature” Scrum team?
A team member goes on a month-long vacation. The team needs to adjust. A team member gets promoted to a new level that shifts them to another team. A team member gets COVID and has to be out for two weeks. The team needs to adjust. A “mature” Agile team may be able to make adjustments to these scenarios but what if your team does add a new member? The working dynamic changes yet again. You can never account for every scenario.
Is your team’s “maturity” really a sign of being stagnant and bored?
Nothing is attractive or interesting so you think you’ve done it all. Your daily Scrum feels like you are going through the motions. The retrospective rarely has action items coming from it. Planning has become a meeting about checking boxes. To some, it may feel that they have gotten so good at working with Scrum that it feels boring.
When a team feels like they’ve done it all sometimes that means that they haven’t done anything new. A routine that is repeated over and over gets old fast. Liven things up with a different format of retro. Or ask the team what they would like to change things up. Pick their brains. A Scrum Master is not alone when it comes to finding creative ways of working.
There are many other red flags besides the three mentioned above.
Testing to see how truly mature a Scrum team is (Maturity Assessment)
See if the entire team thinks that they are mature. If the team struggles to share this or doesn’t feel comfortable talking about it, then the team may need to work on psychological safety. If the team is more than happy to share their thoughts, a Maturity Assessment can be leveraged. It is easy to find out how to build your own Maturity Assessment online.
Conduct the Maturity Assessment and see where the team needs work. But what if your Maturity Assessment comes back as 100% mature? Give your team the reigns. Let them sink or float with what they’ve learned. If you as a team member or Scrum Master fear this idea, then maybe the team isn’t as mature as you thought.
In conclusion, a truly “mature” Scrum team is a rarity. The journey is never-ending and there will always be unknowns. Do not fear the unknown but embrace it. Inspect and adapt. Find new ways of doing things. Let your creative juices flow. You or your team may surprise you with what comes next.
Scrum, Product Management, and DevOps: Simplifying the jargon
The internet and social media are full of Agile, Scrum, Product Management, and DevOps jargon, including incorrect and misunderstood concepts. This could be problematic for a learner seeking knowledge. Without a course with Scrum Alliance, Scrum.org, or DevOps Institute, this knowledge is difficult to achieve.