• What is your goal with your teams?

    9 september 2018 | randy
  • When you have responsibility for (agile) teams, for example because you are a manager, team lead, Scrum Master or any other comparable role; Ask yourself the following question: What is your goal with your teams?

    Team driven or business driven

    Is your goal mostly focused on the team or on the business? What I mean by that is: Does your goal describe a KPI or does it describe the team’s success factors which will help to achieve the KPI?

    The goal for my teams has always been:

    Create a professional group of friends, that happens to make awesome, high quality stuff, that makes users and other stakeholders happy.

    This goal is mainly focused on the team, but if this goal is met, the team will almost definitely meet other goals and KPI’s of the organization as well.

    The next step

    With this goal you can craft a plan for the team based on the level where they are now, and what small step is most important to work on first. For example:

    • How is the team’s interpersonal relation?
    • Are they open and honest to each other?
    • Do they like working together?
    • How mature are they with Scrum?
    • How mature are they in the technology they work with?
    • How is the quality of the stuff they are responsible for?
    • Are their stakeholders engaged?
    • Is their value stream optimized enough?
    • How can we measure all of the above?

    The role of the Scrum Master

    Do you have a goal with your teams to help them grow to the next level? Do you measure your teams progress towards this goal?

    Often the answer is ‘No’, and I’ve seen some Scrum Masters feel that setting team goals and (personal) growth plans within a team is a responsibility for the manager. In a lot of cases, this leaves only the ‘scrum mechanics’ like organizing and facilitating the Scrum Events and maybe teaching Scrum to new people to the Scrum Master. In the worst-case scenario, the Agile mindset degrades and mechanical Scrum with traditional hierarchy remains. So far for the Agile promise…

    I have asked a few Scrum Masters who unfortunately found themselves in this situation: If somebody asked you for a role where you have to help one or more teams by only booking rooms for them, solving their problems, dragging issues around on the backlog, facilitating and taking notes of their meetings. Would you sign up for the job? So, what did you sign up for and where is that energy that you started off with? Let’s get that back!

    The role of the Agile leader

    Not delegating the teams growth to the team and the Scrum Master enough, might become a pitfall for an Agile Leader. Do not be afraid to delegate the larger part of this. Emphasize and inspire your Scrum Masters so that they are not just doing chores for their teams. But expect a plan on how they will help their teams grow and how they will help the organization grow in the Agile Mindset. What is the next step your Scrum Masters have in mind for their team? Make this important and discuss it regularly with your Scrum Masters. Preferably in a group setting.

    Get started

    Scrum Masters

    So, if you are the Scrum Master of a team: you want to have a goal with your team and a plan on which steps you can facilitate your teams to take to get there. How you and your team can engage the rest of the organization, should also be part of the plan. Then get to work with your team! Be inventive and inspiring and go after your goal! That’s so much more fun and challenging than just ‘doing Scrum’. Ignite the Agile mindset, and inspire your team to also determine what their goal for themselves is and help them in reaching these goals.

    Tip for a jump-start: If you are looking for new insights and inspiration, maybe this is the moment to sign up for the PSM II Course of Scrum.org.

    Agile Leaders

    If you are an Agile leader that has Scrum Masters reporting to you: also have an overarching goal with your teams. How can you help them reaching their goals, their next step in maturity and responsibility? Your Scrum Teams really need your help and explicit trust.

    Can you help them to open some doors and pave the way in the organization?

    Facilitate Scrum Masters to work together, so they can learn from each other’s experiences. Try to get a sense of the maturity of your Scrum Teams, and of the level of delegation that your Scrum Teams are ready for. See how you can facilitate their next step.

    If you could use some handles with this, then you might want to look at the Scrum.org PAL-E training.


    Agile Leaders, Scrum Masters and Teams: The success lies in the communication and synchronization of your team goals and the expectations you set together. What will be the next step? What will help us to get even better at what we do or how we do it? This is the bases of your road to continuous improvement. Teamwork is what makes the dream work.

    So… What is your goal?