Monday, September 7, 2015

Scrum and the Five Dysfunctions of a Team

Teamwork is not about Dysfunction.
From time to time, the vice-president of your organization wants to speak with you.  In my experience, they usually ask me to pack up my desk and leave the company.  Currently, that has not happened at my current firm.  So I am sure you can imagine what I felt when I was called into the vice-presidents office for a brief discussion.  After the heart palpitations subsided, I was given a homework assignment and it has been one of the nicest things an executive has ever done for me.  This week I want to share with you what I learned.

Patrick Lencioni, and his book “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team” wound up on my reading list thanks to a healthy recommendation by my vice-president.  In the book Lencioni talks about a mythical tech-company and a mythical CEO with some very real world problems.  The executive leadership is fighting, they are not making many sales and the corporate culture is toxic.  Something has to be done.  This is when the mythical CEO steps in and starts training the executive team.

During this training the CEO outlines the five dysfunctions of a team and how to cure them:
  • Absence of trust
  • Fear of Conflict
  • Lack of Commitment
  • Avoidance of Accountability
  • Inattention to Results

What makes Lencioni’s book so good is that he treats the training of this mythical executive team in a realistic way.  Some people do not buy in and others pay the dysfunctions lip service.  It is only when people start quitting and getting fired that things start to get real and behaviors start to change.  The pressure of working in the tech-industry also helps mold these people into very different leaders by the end of the book.

I really like this guide book about the dysfunctions and what can be done to cure them.  I highly recommend them for my fellow scrum masters.  Still I could use some help, how do I trust people who have violated my trust?  How do I work with those who avoid accountability?  Finally, how do I work with people who refuse to show vulnerability when it comes to work?  I do not know the answers but at the very least Lencioni’s book helps me understand some of the questions.

Until next time.