What Makes a Good Working Agreement

Let`s start with the definition: working modalities are standards or guidelines created by a team to improve their interactions in order to achieve better performance and create a common language. In practice, these agreements define the expectations of the group, establish opportunities for collaboration and create the kind of atmosphere necessary for empathetic and psychologically safe work. These agreements have spared me a lot of grief, so I`ve given some tips below on how to create one that works for your agile team. In addition, I added three examples of clauses that I used for my teams that you could use. The team compiles all the individual agreements into the work agreement and attaches them to the wall of the team room. In the months that follow, team members slowly get used to reminding their colleagues of behaviors that don`t respect the agreement. Every few sprints, Steve asks in a retrospective: „Is this still our working agreement? Is there anything you`d like to change? The list evolves as team members find other areas where they see benefits. After six months, they are much more able to cope with tense problems within the team, or when the pressure from the outside increases on them. After creating this agile teamwork agreement, it is important that it is not forgotten.

This should be a topic of conversation on a regular basis. Depending on your process, it may seem different, but a biweekly retro would be a good time to check that everyone feels that the standards still represent the team. It`s perfectly fine if the standards need to be adjusted to better fit the team as the project progresses and the team learns to work well with each other. If the team values continuous improvement, it shouldn`t be a problem to discuss the changes and/or call the team members if they break the deal, especially since the whole team agreed on this point together. Before the working agreement session, collect the issues the team is currently facing, either from a table of obstacles (see example), a retrospective, or simply known challenges. Bring them and share them during the session to inform the working modalities. Making social norms explicit for teams may seem unfamiliar. Some team members may feel uncomfortable when asked to write down seemingly obvious professional behavioral expectations, but that`s important. When team members don`t clarify each other`s expectations, they tend to make assumptions about what the other person wants or has planned.

Paul Watzlawick wrote a fitting story about it, which he called „The Pursuit of Misfortune.“ In it, a man wants to borrow a hammer from his neighbor to drive a nail. But our protagonist, unfortunately, manages to spin so many fantasies in his head that his mind does not make him like to ask at all, and he simply runs to the neighbor to shout to the unsuspecting man and say, „Keep your hammer!“ Read each agreement aloud, then vote as a team to commit to the agreement. A work agreement is a short set of guidelines created by the team for the team that determine what the team`s expectations are for each other. A well-written agreement should help establish and strengthen a clear and shared understanding among all team members of what they recognize as good behavior and communication. It is usually called a single „work arrangement“, but in reality it consists of many individual agreements for each topic or theme. In this step, help the team enrich their work arrangements with aspects they may not have thought of. The following questions may be helpful: In this step, clarify what the moderator team needs to fulfill these work arrangements. Ask participants the following question: „What do you need from me as a Scrum Master to create the atmosphere described above?“ Provide a safe space to discuss what worked and what didn`t. Open the meeting by explaining to the team that you, as a group, will create a set of behavioral agreements to lead the collaboration. Ask the team: Now that you know the basics, here are some examples of clauses you can include in your team agreement.

Some of them are specific to agile teams. These agreements are created by teams and the Scrum Master facilitates the meeting, and they are preferably created/reviewed during Sprint 0 of each release. The most important factor in developing a teamwork agreement is to identify the challenges your team faces. Learn about the unique challenges of collaboration for your team, then focus on solving them specifically. Work arrangements, also known as team standards, are guidelines developed by teams on how they should work together to create a positive and productive process. If you get „no“ votes, ask the team member what would turn their vote into a „yes.“ Discuss what you can do together as a team and maybe adjust the deal. Every few sprints, the work agreement should be updated, often by revising it retrospectively and asking a question such as: „Is this still our working modalities? What do we want to update? Which areas need new agreements? On the other hand, I saw teams hanging by a thread and barely achieving their goals, if at all, because the team members couldn`t see how they fit into the bigger picture and were just not invested. Fortunately, there is a way to solve this problem: the teamwork agreement. The short answer to the question „When should my team create an agile teamwork agreement?“ is now (if you don`t already have one). However, the best time to create these agreements is at the very beginning of a project, especially if it is a new team. This is most important at this point, as the team may have preconceived ideas about how the team will work. I found that it is also the right time for a team to have a healthy debate.

This destroys this wall at the beginning of the project lifecycle, so the first topic they disagree on in the project is not the first time they have to discuss with each other. Working conditions have quickly become an essential part of modern and successful teams. You may have heard the term, especially when new teams are forming, but is it worth discussing with your own team? What else needs to be said? It is important to remain silent for a few moments at this point. Some of the most important and controversial aspects are only said when the group creates a space for them to stand up. Ask the participants if they all agree on the points of the work agreement or if something needs to be changed? You can choose different moderation options here, e.B. thumb vote, fist of five, one round of voting, etc. It is crucial at this stage that everyone is on board before moving on to the next step. Openness: When we work together, we practice expressing how we are doing and what stands in our way. We are learning that it is good to express concerns so that they can be addressed. Steve feels the atmosphere of the team and first helps them learn about how to work. He first ensures that the team understands what the working arrangements are and how they will benefit personally.

Conflicts or disagreements about what to do and how to do are typical side effects of this exercise. After encountering several meeting issues with a team I had worked with, we decided to create a „There is a time and a place for everything“ clause. To eliminate what can be an epic waste of time, we have developed a „majority rule“ clause. .

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