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Team Transformation Model

15 August 2017

Volodymyr Trush

I propose a team transformation model based on a principle of clear rules and goals. The team goes through the transformation via invitation and ongoing engagement. The transformation can be carried out in two mandatory phases, with an optional third phase. Phases are considered complete based on a set of criteria. Here is how it works.

Phase 1

Phase 1 is considered done

When the team clearly knows:
  • When the sprint failed and when it succeeded
  • When they are doing a good job and when they need to improve (in terms of feedback)
  • That they are able to improve how the team is working and with what team they are able to work successfully, or at least be part of that team and have some influence over them (think of tools, techniques, and approaches used)
When every person:
  • Regularly receives feedback
  • Will not point blame but can easily share his or her feedback, which will not be ignored or postponed

Phase 2

Phase 2 is considered done

When the team:
  • Is using a Lessons Learned list to continuously improve the process
  • Owns the product/project
  • Ensures that the skill matrix is in place and is used as input for continuous improvements
  • Is cross-functional
  • Could easily explain why velocity is 40, not 200; or 150, not 40
When every person:
  • Knows his or her place on the team (Responsibility Assignment matrix)
  • Knows the strong and weak skills of other team members (Skill matrix is in place)
  • Has an individual development plan (Self-Awareness matrix is in place)
  • Supports the team’s values and principles

(Optional) Phase 3

Phase 3 is considered done

When the team:
  • Has the Happiness matrix is in place
  • Has flextime for internal improvements, and relevant workshops are in place
  • Is fostering the company culture by spreading best practices
When every person:
  • Clearly knows company and team values
  • Constantly uses the Self-Awareness matrix
  • Spreads team and company values in external conferences and events

The importance of invitation

How often have you been invited to do something that was not really interesting to you, or you were not doing it because you did not know how?

Many times when I've asked teams why they were doing something (for example, why they were estimating in points), I've received answers such as "No idea," "Because management asked," or even "Who cares? It's only numbers, and we want to just work."

In general, if you have already solved problems using the checklists in Phases 1, 2, and/or 3, your teams will be open to transformation. I think some of them will even have a Lessons Learned log.

Regardless of how receptive the team is to the transformation at first, invitation is what really matters. If teams are forced to go through the transformation, there's a small chance that it will be successful. As a result, after a brief period, nobody will follow because the initiative to transform was pushed by someone, and the others do not see the point of it. That approach applies more to a factory model in which complex thinking or team cooperation is not needed; you need only to do your predefined steps.

I recommend that you regard the invitation as a way to uncover team problems and then build the invitation strategy based upon them. For example, perhaps the team does not see the point of estimating but they always have problems with delivery, making the team completely unhappy and stressed because of bad feedback from business. If you tell the team that you'll try to make them happy, I am certain that you will get 100% support for your next steps.

I am happy to answer any questions regarding the phases or elements within the phases.

Opinions represent those of the author and not of Scrum Alliance. The sharing of member-contributed content on this site does not imply endorsement of specific Scrum methods or practices beyond those taught by Scrum Alliance Certified Trainers and Coaches.

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