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More Autonomous Teams Using Behavioral Marker Systems - A Tool for Guided Self-Reflection

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How do we scale the ability of Agile coaches and Scrum Masters to help teams change their behaviors and adopt new ways of interacting? In most Scrum team ceremonies, there are behaviors and anti-patterns that constrain team performance. How do we develop coaches, Scrum Masters, and the team members themselves to catch and correct behavior that negatively affect team performance?

This session introduces participants to behavioral markers - observable behaviors that contribute to superior or substandard performance within a work environment. Behavioral marker systems are based on Crew Resource Management research from aviation and other high-stakes teamwork domains. Behavioral marker systems act as both scaffolding and mirror that allows teams to reflect on their own behaviors. The session balances the theory with a mini-case study and "how to" guide for participants to take back to work and try for themselves.

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More Autonomous Teams Using Behavioral Marker Systems - A Tool for Guided Self-Reflection

  1. 1. Copyright © 2020 nuCognitive LLC. & FiveWhyz LLC. All rights reserved. High-Performing Scrum Teams Improving team autonomy and performance through behavioral marker systems Linkedin.com/in/danwalsh1115 dan@FiveWhyz.com Copyright © 2020 nuCognitive LLC. & FiveWhyz LLC. All rights reserved. @danielwalsh
  2. 2. Copyright © 2020 nuCognitive LLC. & FiveWhyz LLC. All rights reserved. Agenda Introductions Why: Why team autonomy matters What: An introduction to behavioral markers How: An invitation to get started 2
  3. 3. Copyright © 2020 nuCognitive LLC. & FiveWhyz LLC. All rights reserved. What is a team? A team is a group of individuals who interact and work together toward a common objective or shared mission. 3
  4. 4. Copyright © 2020 nuCognitive LLC. & FiveWhyz LLC. All rights reserved. Self-organization 4 AutonomyVS How would you describe the difference?
  5. 5. Copyright © 2020 nuCognitive LLC. & FiveWhyz LLC. All rights reserved. What is autonomy? au·ton·o·my /ôˈtänəmē/ noun: 1. the right or condition of self-government 2. the capacity of an agent to act in accordance with objective morality rather than under the influence of desires When a team seeks autonomy, they would like to be able to make decisions independently from an authority figure 5 Reference: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Autonomy
  6. 6. Copyright © 2020 nuCognitive LLC. & FiveWhyz LLC. All rights reserved. Self-organization <> Autonomy Self-organization is a process where some form of overall order arises from local interactions between parts of an initially disordered system. Two important capacities from biological autonomy: Constitutive: produces and maintains the parts that contribute to the functioning of the system as an integrated, operational, and distinct whole Interactive: promotes the conditions necessary for its own existence through its interaction with the environment Reference: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Self-organization6
  7. 7. Copyright © 2020 nuCognitive LLC. & FiveWhyz LLC. All rights reserved. “Add complexity to increase autonomy.” 7
  8. 8. Copyright © 2020 nuCognitive LLC. & FiveWhyz LLC. All rights reserved. What is an autonomous team? One possible response: “An autonomous team is one that is self-managed, self-organized, and independent from outside influence or direction from a supervisor.” Thoughts? A: Yes but not quite… autonomy does NOT imply working in isolation. Constitutive: interdependent individuals, who regulate much of their own behavior. Select and train new members, set their own work pace, supervise most of their own activities and often trade jobs among themselves. Interactive: that shape and influence their own work environment in ways that allow them to thrive and perform at their best. 8
  9. 9. Copyright © 2020 nuCognitive LLC. & FiveWhyz LLC. All rights reserved. Quick Poll Think of all of the training your team has ever received in terms of three categories. What fraction of time and effort was spent on each… X) Roles & responsibilities and work processes (R&R, procedures, how to get work done) Y) Technical skills (coding craft, using tools, learning new tech) Z) Teamwork and interpersonal interactions (collaboration, behaviors, non-technical skills) …where X% + Y% + Z% = 100% 9
  10. 10. Copyright © 2020 nuCognitive LLC. & FiveWhyz LLC. All rights reserved. Software development as a complex adaptive system Interactions are often more important than what individual agents do in isolation. 1010 X) Roles & responsibilities and work processes Y) Technical skills Z) Teamwork and interpersonal interactions
  11. 11. Copyright © 2020 nuCognitive LLC. & FiveWhyz LLC. All rights reserved. High-Performing Teams Teamwork - the way a team works together to achieve results, is a complex challenge. Teaming - the activity of working together as a team. When organizations want improve their teams’ collective performance there is a tendency to focus more on individuals (e.g. R&R, skills mapping, technical skill development, decision rights,…) How people interact is often MORE important than who or what they are, no what they can do as individuals Changing interactions is more effective than asking people to change (e.g. working agreements, protocols, exchanges, social norms, how people connect) 1111
  12. 12. Copyright © 2020 nuCognitive LLC. & FiveWhyz LLC. All rights reserved. One approach to coach team behaviors… 12 Potential problems with this approach at scale?
  13. 13. Copyright © 2020 nuCognitive LLC. & FiveWhyz LLC. All rights reserved. Behavioral Marker Systems Behavioral markers are observable, non- technical behaviors that contribute to superior or substandard performance within a work environment. Two criteria for “good” behavioral markers: 1) Specific, observable behavior instead of an attitude or personality trait 2) Causal relationship with team performance outcomes …there are other criteria, but these two are fine place to begin. Reference: http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1038&context=usnavyresearch 13
  14. 14. Copyright © 2020 nuCognitive LLC. & FiveWhyz LLC. All rights reserved. Behavioral Marker Examples for Daily Scrum # Description 1 Meeting starts and ends on time (>90%) 2 All members show up on time or ask someone to represent them 3 Team members are mentally present and are not obviously distracted by things (e.g. email, texts) outside the meeting 4 Team members make clear, concise, and timely points 5 Team holds effective and efficient meetings without needing a Scrum Master to facilitate 6 The status of the teams' work is updated to reflect the current state before the meeting (e.g. items in workflow management systems updated, blocked items and stakeholders flagged) 7 Team members do not have to remind one another of any help needed or follow up items from the prior meetings. Team members make and meet commitments without being asked more than once. 8 Team members don't fall into detailed discussions or get distracted with non-relevant topics (aka rabbit holes). Team members don't have to ask others to take details off-line. 9 Team discusses more than just status updates on what happened yesterday. Impediments, risks, help needed are surfaced and discussed without asking. 10 Report outs directed towards teammates not toward PO, SM, or other authority 11 Team members ask questions to investigate and clarify current plan of action 12 Each team member clearly articulates their top priority work item for the day 13 Team communicates impediments effectively and efficiently using a closed-loop communication approach 14 Meeting results in a well understood plan for the day toward achieving the sprint goal 15 Team communication is balanced and everyone contributes to the conversation (e.g. not dominated by one or two team members) Behavioral marker system organized by Scrum ceremonies (e.g. Daily Scrum) Characteristics of a behavioral marker • Specific, observable behavior • Causal relationship with team performance outcomes NOT MINDSETS NOT ATTITUDES NOT FEELINGS 14
  15. 15. Copyright © 2020 nuCognitive LLC. & FiveWhyz LLC. All rights reserved. Behavioral markers serve as a mirror for teams that enable guided self-reflection and mutual-accountability Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hand_with_Reflecting_Sphere 15
  16. 16. Copyright © 2020 nuCognitive LLC. & FiveWhyz LLC. All rights reserved. Another approach to coach team behaviors… 16
  17. 17. Copyright © 2020 nuCognitive LLC. & FiveWhyz LLC. All rights reserved. Exercise As a team… 1) brainstorm a couple of behaviors for a scrum ceremony 2) select a few behaviors and draft a short list of behavioral markers for that ceremony 3) share with the group and solicit feedback 15 min total to brainstorm and draft. 17
  18. 18. Copyright © 2020 nuCognitive LLC. & FiveWhyz LLC. All rights reserved. Daily Scrum Assessment Assessor Dan Dan Dan Date 12-Nov-18 15-Nov-18 29-Nov-18 # Description Behavior Observed? [Yes, No, Somewhat, TBD] Behavior Observed? [Yes, No, Somewhat, TBD] Behavior Observed? [Yes, No, Somewhat, TBD] 1 Meeting consistently starts and ends on time (>90%) y n n 2 Clear kickoff or closure for the meeting y y y 3 Team members not distracted with other things (e.g. email, texts) y y y 4 All team members are present or they send someone to represent them ? n n 5 Team members make clear, concise, and timely points s y y 6 Meeting does not require facilitation from a Scrum Master to be effective and efficient (PO or Tech Lead to assess when SM not present) n y y 18
  19. 19. Copyright © 2020 nuCognitive LLC. & FiveWhyz LLC. All rights reserved. Summary Why are behavioral marker systems used? • Guided self-assessment • Improve level of autonomy • Highlight and reinforce positive behaviors that contribute to successful performance outcomes (or dampen negative ones) Other potential opportunities • Scale to other interactions (Big room planning, management meetings, …) • Maturity assessment (e.g. group markers into sets to measure progress) • Help train and develop scrum masters, coaches, and leaders at every level 19
  20. 20. Copyright © 2020 nuCognitive LLC. & FiveWhyz LLC. All rights reserved. Your Invitation To Get Started Is your team ready? ✓ open to a pursuit of self-awareness ✓ curious about how to be more effective with colleagues ✓ willing to make changes to achieve better team outcomes How? ❑ Introduce as part of team retrospective ❑ Recommend to start with daily scrum meeting ❑ Tailor (add, delete, modify) ❑ Prioritize (performance vs importance) Email me if you want to be part of a small shared-learning group for behavioral markers dan@fivewhyz.com 20
  21. 21. Copyright © 2020 nuCognitive LLC. & FiveWhyz LLC. All rights reserved. How do you get a team to talk to itself about itself? Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hand_with_Reflecting_Sphere 21
  22. 22. Copyright © 2020 nuCognitive LLC. & FiveWhyz LLC. All rights reserved. Q&A 22

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