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Working Agreements

Developing Working Agreements

 

Working agreements are guidelines developed by the teams as to how they must work together to create a positive, productive process. Working agreements describe positive behaviors that, although basic, often are not automatically demonstrated in team processes. For example, an agreement might be “We all agree to participate fully.” Agreements are the group’s power tool. Elements of the working agreement should be posted (written out on a chart or board, or giving in a hand-out) for easy reference throughout the team process. They may be set upfront to establish a ONE team culture, and something to refer back when things get rocky within the team.

 

 

Working agreements:

  • Develop a sense of shared responsibility
  • Increase members’ awareness of their own behavior
  • Empower the facilitator to lead the group according to the agreements.
  • Enhance the quality of the group process.
  • They are created by teams when ScrumMaster facilitate the meeting.
  • They are preferably, created/reviewed during the Sprint 0 of every release.

 

Agreements work well when:

  • They are important to the team
  • They are limited in number
  • They are fully supported by each member
  • The members are reminded of agreements during process checks
  • The members are reminded of agreements when they are broken

 

Some Examples of Working Agreement Guidelines are:

–        Show respect. Don’t interrupt; let people finish what they’re saying. It’s OK to disagree with each other. No personal attacks, attack issues, we debate the merit of ideas, not people.

–        Contribution. Everyone has equal voice and valuable contribution.

–        Standup. Strictly adhere to the stand-up time

–        Meeting. Be on time, end on time, have an agenda

–        Be transparent. No hidden agendas. Get to the point, don’t beat around the bush.  We will give feedback, we will receive feedback, and we will act on feedback.

–        Impediments. Road blocks should be addressed to the team

–        We make commitments as a team.  We will be held accountable to our commitments. – we work as a team to make a commitment and deliver on it.

–        Incomplete stories are not good – it is better to help get an existing story to “done” than to start another story that can’t be finished in the current sprint.

 

Common Concerns: What to do when someone in the group is breaking an agreement?

 

ScrumMaster, is the custodian of the working agreements, he has the right to question when someone is breaking the agreement.

 

Working Agreement Ground Rules Examples

 

  1. Ground Rules Regarding Logistics
    1. Date, time, location
    2. List of participants (if different than team0
    3. Purpose of the meeting
    4. Order of business to conduct
    5. Ending time of meeting

 

  1. Ground Rules Regarding Behaviors/Attitudes
    1. Each person should be prepared for the meeting
    2. Each person should come to the meeting on time
    3. The meetings will start and end on time
    4. As a team we will value the diversity of team members
    5. We will support the team concept and process
    6. We will work to maintain positive team dynamics
    7. We will make decisions by consensus (we will work out impasses by reverting to a majority rule after _____ amount of time and discussion)
    8. Each person will participate in the meetings
    9. Each person will keep track of their own work and the team’s compiled work. (Or, our team has a designated record keeper)
    10. Each person will listen and have an open mind.

 

  1. Ground Rules Regarding Conflict and Team Member Exit
    1. Each person will be dedicated to openly discussing issues and conflicts openly with the team.
    2. If a team member is engaging in behaviors or attitudes that disrupt the work or climate of the team that person will be given a “warning” and an opportunity to change the disruptive behavior/attitude.
    3. This warning will be given up to ____(3)  times.
    4. If after the first warning the team member does not end the disruptive behavior then the instructor (T.A.) will be notified and notified after each subsequent warning.
    5. If the behavior continues after the ___ (3rd) warning, then the team member will be asked to leave the team. This team member will no longer receive a team grade for the assignment.
    6. The team member who has been asked to leave will acknowledge that they must now meet with the instructor of the course to work out a potential arrangement. (Instructors should have an idea of what types of arrangements they are willing to make with team members who have been asked to leave their team).

Working agreements thinking grid


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