Once this group had gone past discussing their expectations and fears that they had about the work – they were comfortable with each other and more open to discuss even the smallest misgivings in their minds.
Sensing their comfort level, I realized an opportunity to facilitate the following exercise to help them get to know themselves and each other more:
1. Supplies – Notecards and pens
Two parts to exercise (Part a, Part b)
a. Each person had to write the following:
-Definition of the word “feedback”
-What does feedback means in Agile projects
-What does feedback means to them, and how would they like to received feedback
b. Once they had penned these, they needed to find a partner and “tell” them what they had written.
The partner listens. No notes taking. Listen and look into the others’ eye.
Then the partner “tells” them what then had written.
Now they go around the room and either just “listen” or just “talk”.
Scrum Team: Each team member has conveyed individually to every other member of their team how they would like to be treated; Has listened to how every other team member would like to be treated;
Scrum Master: The list of team behavior / working agreements was just growing with a deliberate intention but peacefully and with respect.
Coach: Though the coach did not hear anyones thoughts, the intention of the exercise was met – team agreements was being built artfully
Feedback to the coach on the exercise:
(I loved how they were able to identify their listening and speaking behaviors)
The first time they spoke about how they wanted to receive feedback they were brittle and spoke in sentences;
As they continued speaking, their thoughts became more clear;
They were repeating the same words over and over again; BUT telling to different people – so it didn’t feel the same;
After talking for a few times – their words flowed smoothly and it was like telling a succinct quick story;
At the end they completely believed what they had just said and felt quite confident and comfortable with their own expectations;
Telling someone how they wanted to be treated felt good;
Knowing that they will be treated well felt good;
Raising the bar on communication felt good;
Asking felt good;
They were also listening to others’ thoughts and had to listen intently;
Purpose of the exercise:
1. In teams where there are non native English speakers – the listener had to make extra effort to pay attention to spoken language, body language, make eye contact and also listen. phew! Too much happening in a matter of less than a couple of minutes. But they had made a start. The non native English speaker has also taken a bold step to speak to someone quickly, intimately and received respect without being commented upon.
2. Scrum requires an advanced level of respect and listening skills. We had just laid the foundation for it even before we spoke about ceremonies or Agile foundations… and yet we were not even close to discussing daily Scrum.