Professional Scrum Competency: Developing People and Teams

Developing People and Teams Icon

Scrum is only as effective as the individuals and teams using it. No matter their accountabilities on the Scrum Team, everyone plays a key part in Developing People and Teams so that the Scrum Team can function as a cohesive unit while embracing continuous improvement. This requires helping and collaborating with others on the team and throughout the organization. 

For example, a Developer may mentor another Developer on implementing a new technology; the Product Owner may facilitate a session with stakeholders to help gather new requirements; the Scrum Master may teach Developers about the Scrum Framework. Each member of a Scrum Team possesses different skills and talents. A key aspect of Developing People and Teams is the ability to choose which skills to use based on the people they are working with and the situation.

Choosing to use a specific set of skills within the Focus Areas means an individual takes a stance in applying them. Team members should introduce themselves to the Focus Areas, learn the differences among them and grow proficiency over time. A stance isn’t a job title or a role, it is how someone is acting at that moment, the approach they are using. Depending on context, they may take a coaching stance, facilitating stance, mentoring stance or teaching stance with the recipient(s). They may even switch stances depending on needs. It is important that the individual discusses and is explicit about the stance that they are taking with the recipient(s) so that they know they are being coached, for example. If the situation requires a change in stances, such as the person coaching switches to mentoring, they must make that change clear as it occurs so as not to confuse the recipient(s).

To improve the Scrum Team’s ability to deliver value, all Scrum Team members must continuously improve their capabilities to contribute to and influence team outcomes. Scrum Masters have a specific responsibility to support and guide the development of Scrum Team members as well as other members of the organization.

Key Focus Areas

Within each competency, a number of Focus Areas provide a more detailed view of the knowledge and skills required to master the competency of Developing People and Teams.

Self-Managing Teams

A fundamental foundational element to Scrum; cross-functional, self-managing and empowered teams are the engine to delivering value. Practitioners need to understand what self-management is and how to apply it to their context. They should also understand how to incrementally introduce self-management, the practices that can help it thrive, and the measures that help one determine if a team is able to be empowered to self-manage.

Facilitation

Making decisions, sharing ideas, and being transparent is easy to agree to, but in reality, it is hard to do. Facilitation is a set of practices that help support the collaboration, communication, and creativity of teams and individuals. The practitioner should understand the value of facilitation, and have a collection of techniques they can apply. They should also have experience applying them in different situations with varying levels of complexity. 

Leadership Styles

There are many different leadership styles ranging from traditional ‘command and control’ to more collaborative or even Machiavellian. Understanding the right style to use at a given time and how different styles can influence - in a positive or negative way - the agile agenda of empiricism, empowerment, and improvement is a key Focus Area. Practitioners should understand the concepts of leadership styles and be able to apply a particular style when the situation calls for it. They should also be able to demonstrate their ability to decide on the right style and understand its impact on the organization. 

Coaching

The ability to unlock new ways of thinking is important for any agile practitioner who aims to enable sustaining change and transformation within teams and organizations. Coaching is a non-directive way of meeting a person where they are, helping them connect with their existing talent and wisdom and leading them to find within themselves what it takes to try new things. Agile practitioners should understand the range of skills and capabilities needed to create value  when coaching and be able to discern when a coaching stance is the best way to support people and teams. 

Mentoring

There are many ways to support people in their personal growth and improvement in their work. Mentoring is particularly useful because it brings forward personal stories and experiences that aid another person in uncovering their own way to accomplish something. Practitioners share their experience with a given topic or technique, helping someone who is less experienced to understand and grow.. The practitioner should understand the value of mentoring and how it is different from other approaches for supporting people in their development.

Teaching

The ability to inspire others to learn and share information in an effective, repeatable, and efficient manner is a key aspect to any agile practitioners' skills. The practitioner should understand the value of teaching and appreciate the means of measuring the success of their teaching. They should understand different learning approaches and understand when to apply different techniques in different contexts. 

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