Powerful ways to build amazing teams (2 of 5)

A team’s success with Scrum depends on five values: commitment, courage, focus, openness and respect.


Is it possible five simple words will lead to success? It can’t be that simple, can it? In my experience, it isn’t quite that easy, but five words can make a massive difference in a team’s effectiveness.

My good friend, Henry Dittmer was co-training with me in a Certified ScrumMaster course when I gave him a big challenge. I wanted him to come up with an exercise for helping students understand the Scrum Values. I only gave him a few hours to do it! He succeeded beyond my wildest expectation. He created an exercise I now use in almost all of my classes and when I coach teams. Watch the video below for a simple overview of Henry’s exercise.

When I do this in-person, I use large flip chart pages with the various outlines on each page. Many people say, “Awwww!” when they see the fragments put together at the end. The heart imagery resonates with people and is memorable. I’ve done this exercise with teams, and months later, the results will still be hanging on an easily visible wall. It helps teams set expectations of each other and themselves.

Helping people create a common understanding of shared values is an essential step toward team engagement and effectiveness. Doing the Scrum Values exercise helps teams bond by working together on it, but it also helps them better understand each other. The conversations they have are both energetic and enlightening. I’ve seen teams finish with huge smiles on their faces because they knew they would be better – just from having the conversations. The result on the charts was a bonus!

Five simple words CAN make a difference. Use this exercise with your team and let me know what happens.

Read part 1 of this series here, and part 3 here.

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