Trust the Team

Photo by Shawn Honnick

Photo by Shawn Honnick

The hardest part of an Agile adoption is learning to trust the team.  An Agile project might not provide the normal indicators of progress that managers are accustomed to seeing.  The Agile adoption can feel uncomfortable for managers, particularly since their role is often not explicitly defined.  But how a manager acts can greatly impact a team:

  • A manager who questions the amount of work a team pulls into a sprint can make the team question its own judgment and feel pressured to do more.
  • A manager who demands to know what each team member is working on can make the team feel unsafe and may lead to estimate inflation or overcommitting to work.
  • A manager who tells the team how to solve a problem can make the team dependent and slows learning.

I wish I could say that rebuilding the trust after such actions is as easy as clapping your hands and saying, "I believe in the team."  But the truth is that trust takes work.  Demonstrating trust includes both the absence and presence of behavior, so focus on ways to build trust and avoid breaking it

Allison Pollard

I help people discover their agile instincts and develop their coaching abilities. As an agile coach with Improving in Dallas, I enjoy mentoring others to become great Scrum Masters, coaching managers to grow teams that deliver amazing results, and fostering communities that provide sustainability for agile transformations. In my experience, applying agile methods improves delivery, strengthens relationships, and builds trust between business and IT. A big believer in the power of community-based learning, I grew the DFW Scrum user group significantly over the five years I served as an organizer. I am also a Certified Professional Co-Active Coach, a foodie, and proud glasses wearer.