Tension in Scrum Events

Last post 05:52 am April 29, 2020
by ezgi kakaliçoğlu cihan
4 replies
03:10 pm April 28, 2020


What should I do as an SM while two people experience tension in scrum events?


03:39 pm April 28, 2020

Might there be an opportunity to harness that tension, and achieve productive dissent?

03:44 pm April 28, 2020

It all depends on the level of tension and how often it happens. Not all levels of conflict are bad, in fact you want some level of healthy conflict and tension, it is how the best ideas emerge.

In general here are some ideas to be proactive:

  • Teach the team about Scrum values, and have an open discussion with them about why they are important and how they might use them.
  • Facilitate a working agreement around conflict. One Scrum Team I worked with had a simple one: When things get heated we will take a 15 minute break, and when we come back we will focus on the problem/process, not the person.
  • Teach the team about the 5 levels of conflict. https://dzone.com/articles/agile-managing-conflict
  • Use the Sprint Retrospective to discuss it with the team if they think it is a problem, and ask them for ways to work through it.

Try to let them work it out first before jumping in as a Scrum Master. Otherwise you may impede self-organization and become a crutch to the team, always being needed to solve conflict.

03:45 pm April 28, 2020

@ezgi kakaliçoğlu cihan, If there is tension between two people but the situation isn't affecting the team or its ability to achieve its Sprint Goal and produce a Done Increment, then perhaps the Scrum Master may not need to immediately get involved but definitely keep an eye on the situation.

If you notice the situation reaching a point where it starts to affect the Development Team, then perhaps, the Scrum Master may want to facilitate a discussion, and help the individuals uphold the spirit of Scrum and the Scrum Values. 

05:52 am April 29, 2020

Hi All,

Thanks for all your replies. Actually at first i did not get involved the conversations. But now I face with problem to reach our sprint goal and done increment. Thanks for the book recommendation, I will first read and then try to solve!