Scrum Master Role Adaptation Upon Agile Cross Functional (XFT) Team Dynamics

Scrum Master challenges often varies and dependent on the agile team and its current dynamics. The 4 major stages of team dynamics are Forming, Storming, Performing and Norming. Teams performance level varies in different stages thus the team leader/scrum master has different things to do.

Recognise the team’s current stage is a big Scrum Master Challenge. The dynamics not only have a relationship with the Scrum Masters’ work load but also it enables different type of tasks. The stages are not permanent for any team. If a team achieves to reach to the performance stage, that does not make sure that they will keep up that stage forever. Often a conflict creates disruption in a well-functioning team and may eventually lead the team to fall back to Storming phase. It is strongly advised to resolve the conflict as soon as possible with empathy. Even smallest issues may in long run may cause strong and more permanent damages like lack of trust.

Below we created an example that can be used to identify different stages of a team and the Scrum Masters’ possible tasks with respect to team stages.

Team Stage

Forming

Stage Characteristics

Teams’ vision is unclear so as the responsibilities of team members. Often team members would be answering questions like:

Who participates?

What are we going to do?

How shall we do it?

Who are we referring to?

Who shall make the decision?

Scrum Masters’ Task

Introduction of participants and the clarification of basic terms, goals, vision and values.

Try to define clear responsibilities and expectation for each team member.

Team Stage

Storming

Stage Characteristics

Coordinating, resolving difficulties regarding establishing common understanding, roles and procedures.

Showing difficulties to make collective decisions, conflicts are taking in place for individual pride.

Scrum Masters’ Task

Conflict resolution, dissolution and the development of team-specific common understandings of roles, routines, etc.

Try to arrange team building activities.

Team Stage

Norming

Stage Characteristics

The team establishes a common understanding, roles and procedures through agreements and self-assessment.

A strong community will form and everyone will accommodate himself.

Scrum Masters’ Task

Encourage development of the team-specific common understandings, roles, working, etc.

Encourage the development of one team.

Team Stage

Performing

Stage Characteristics

The team can primarily concentrate on getting the job well done instead of ways, cooperation and organising.

The cooperation works and there are less talk about process and self assessment.

Scrum Masters’ Task

Encourage work performance through a focus on excellence, potentials, new targets, etc.

Scrum Master challenges in enterprise goes beyond the team management. It is a role that serves multiple interfaces.

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