The WHYs and HOWs of Building Consensus in Your Scrum Team
As Scrum Master, your task is to lead a Team towards a common goal, assign and monitor the completion of tasks, facilitate progress, run the daily scrum, set milestones and ensure timely delivery. Not an easy task, even with Team members who fully agree on everything. Let alone if they don’t…
In this article, we give you a few tips on building consensus in your Scrum Team. But why even bother, when you could just tell everyone what and how to do? After all, you are their true leader, right? Well, let’s dive in then.
Why is Building Consensus In Your Scrum Team Is So Important Anyway?
On the surface, consensus among scrum team members might seem negligible, as technically speaking one does not need to agree with or like what they’re doing, in order for it to be done. Yet reaching consensus has some benefits you may not be aware of.
First, it helps strengthen and maintain inner cohesion. If Team members are not on the same page, they’re likely to start forming groups that will eventually lead to the disruption of integrity.
Besides that, building consensus in your Scrum Team requires discussions, through which hidden flaws in ideas might surface easier. If all teammates were given the opportunity to evaluate proposals, the final outcome might be a more viable solution.
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So, here are a few quick tips on how to build consensus in among your Scrum Team members:
- Improving consensus is best done through open discussion; therefore, being a scrum guide, you need to hold one. This allows each member to voice their concerns in a transparent manner, helping to minimize the chance of groups being formed.
- Before discussing the issue, you might want to do a quick poll to see if there is any disagreement regarding the path forward. Who knows, there might not be any.
- If there is disagreement, however, spare no effort to identify the root cause. In everyday life, a great portion of arguing happens because parties are talking past each other and taking things personal. We’re all humans, so these unfortunate practices infest our work as well, and as Scrum Master, part of your job is handling that effectively.
- During the discussion, try to implement timeboxing to save yourselves from being stuck on non-essential matters.
- Listen to clash of views, and if possible, incorporate them into the final decision. Think of it as political parties giving concessions to opposing parties in order to get their vote.
- Be clear about the issues that need to be decided on. Transparency and honesty are values with immense long-term benefits, so don’t sacrifice them for a quick victory. Need further convincing? Well, according to an Employee Engagement Survey conducted by TINYpulse, employee happiness is closely linked to transparency. So, always be upfront and tell the Team the good, the bad and the ugly as well, so that everyone knows what needs to be solved.
Building consensus in your Scrum Team can be a real challenge sometimes, but as a true leader you cannot afford to neglect it. Differences among teammates should not be looked at as something inherently negative. Dissent can be leveraged and turned into an instrument that is not only useful for uncovering flaws during negotiation but is also great for monitoring task completion by providing a constant flow of constructive criticism.