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Build trust with Scrum

April 10, 2019

Are we really a Team? 

Looking back a couple of years ago, I had a chance to work with the great team. Yes! They are a great team, but not from the beginning...that was a broken team when I came.

Old story

- The team used Scrum but the Transparency was lost. Development Team hid issues from Product Owner when he came to ask. They said: “All good!", but actually, they were deep in Bugs & Impediments and couldn’t deliver working software.

- Team complained about the goal was changed frequently by the Product Owner.

- Disappointment appeared between the Development Team and Product Owner every Sprint Review.

- The higher manager started to doubt about quality and progress. Therefore, they pushed more and more pressure on the team and asked for more reports. This action didn’t help to improve the situation but only made it more terrible.

- Every time, something went wrong, people started to complain to each other and this leads to "fear mode". They started to say “I”, not “We”.

In a tough time, I planned to do many things to support the team, but firstly I asked them: "As a Team, do you TRUST each other?"


Why trust is important?

Trust is important because it is the foundation around how human relationships revolve. Without trust, there will be no relationship. In some relationships like a family, trust exists naturally. Otherwise, some relationships people need to build up over time.

Lack of trust: Relationship will be broken - Transparency is lost. People start to play defense, no one wants to work as a team and collaborate for a goal.

From my experience, nothing is more important for Teamwork than trust. If having the secondary importance, it’s TRUST as well. You can't build a good team while they lack of trust.

Trust is rare



What should we do to build trust?

I used to say: "If you want someone to trust you, you need to trust them first". Or we can say, to trust someone, you need to be Courageous first!

It's hard, right? What if you give them a trust but they give you disappointment? What if they do something wrong? If we failed?

I believe we have an answer in the Scrum Framework. It supports the Scrum team to be courageous:

  • Managing the risks by Sprint. 
  • Having Daily Scrum to support Development Team review and having a plan updated to achieve the Sprint goal at the end of Sprint.

With time-box, Scrum Team has a chance to learn, fail and improve continuously.

"Be courageous! We can fail, but fail quickly and learn."


Therefore be courageous to do a thing team has never tried before. To do a thing we do not understand fully because we are in a complex situation. Being courageous support Scrum Values:

  • Product Owner needs to trust the Development Team: they will do their best to create DONE increment at the end of Sprint.
  • The development team needs to trust the Product Owner for his/ her vision.
  • Development team member trusts each other, not only on their strengths but also their weaknesses.
  • The higher manager needs to trust the Scrum team and give them a space to be self-organized.

To be honest, as a leader, when communicating, keep the commitment in the team, keep transparency with each other is important to build the trust as well.


"As a leader, you need to trust your team first to be trusted.”



How long does it take to build trust?


"It will never ever be a one-day job."


Scrum Master

As Scrum Master one of your daily jobs is building up and maintaining trust among a team, raising up 5 values of Scrum. Your work is not a short term job but step by step. Even that is rebuilding trust or building up a level of trust.


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