Every Scrum Team Works on a Vibration - Professional Mind Series (#2)
#2 blog post of the
Professional Mind for Professional Scrum Series
If you look at Scrum Teams all around the world, you recognize a spectrum of productivity from completely passive to fully proactive teams. Productivity is a word that is used to represent the state of our way of working as a team. But beneath it, there is a more fundamental concept called vibration. So, let me walk you through this deep concept.
See your daily behaviors and way of thinking as a team. Indeed, they create your results. We call it your paradigm. Paradigm is a pile of habits planted in your subconscious mind. How? By repetition.
Think of a company within which a Scrum Team asks managers for help to remove an impediment. However, the first reaction of managers is to refuse it and not support teams. What is the natural output of such behavior?
It is obvious, after a few times of doing so, Scrum Team members implant a belief in their subconscious mind that they can’t rely on the managers’ support. So, if a new impediment happens, they don’t think of managers’ help as an option at all.
However, we know that many impediments have roots in the wider organization level and can’t be resolved without managers’ support. Consequently, those impediments remain there and constantly eat the team and organization’s energy.
Can you feel the abovementioned environment? This is a type of paradigm. The more bad behaviors are repeated, the more passive paradigm is created. Because it is the rule that a team’s paradigm is created by repetition.
The paradigm creates all dimensions of our reality containing our way of thinking, feeling, and acting. This collective style of work is called vibration.
There are thousands of lines of vibration based on the teams’ contexts from a completely passive vibration to a fully proactive vibration.
Let me draw them in words.
Completely passive vibration
In this environment, you just see a group of people, not a team, that are supposed to work together. They don’t create value constantly. They don’t release their work iteratively even may not have a release for over a year.
You see a general command and control approach. Team members don’t respect each other. They don’t know what their product is and which problem of the customer is resolved by it. They have a long distance from their clients and are not customer-centric at all.
Impediments are there for years. People can’t speak loudly and don’t have the courage and motivation to work on tough problems. People are task-oriented but every simple task is a big project.
For every tiny work, you need a lot of coordination and bureaucracy. People don’t work to achieve predefined goals. So, their general style is to drift.
It is obvious that in such a vibration, no one takes the work ownership, and to be honest how terrible it is!
Do you think people enjoy working in such an environment?!
Fully proactive vibration
On such a vibration, the Scrum Team is completely self-managing and takes full ownership of the work. They are doers, not speakers.
They have concrete levels of goals like Product Vision, Product Goals, and Sprint Goals. They are committed to their goals but flexible about the ways to reach those goals. So, they most often meet their goals.
They build their team identity around their customers and have close daily interactions with their clients. They know that the only and primary measure of progress is a working product. So, their main approach is to build and deliver done increments early and often.
They actively think of their release frequency to constantly lessen it to a state of daily or even hourly release frequency.
You can see real professionalism in their daily behaviors. They adhere to Agile and Scrum values. They are fully open to various feedback to close their learning loops.
They are ruthless about impediments and no one can stop them from resolving impediments. It doesn’t matter in which level of organization the impediment resides. They just use their focus and best to remove it.
They have deep root cause analysis to see how they can improve their processes seriously. They help each other and are always ready to offer help. They live by the law of increase, meaning when they meet people, leave them with a better impression compared to the time they begin their conversation.
You don’t see managers but leaders with a main approach of support to cultivate a high-vibration environment.
On such a vibration, people literally enjoy working together as a team. They feel psychological safety because of the existence of good morals and ethics.
In this state, you can call your team a legendary team that can do amazing pieces of work that from many people's points of view are impossible.
Your current vibration
Now you have a definition of these two extreme levels of vibration.
I ask you to be transparent with yourself and describe the dimensions of your current style of working which is your current vibration.
Yes, literally write it down. The more details it has, the better understanding of your current vibration you gain. Because it is the very thing that creates your current results.
At this moment, you may ask how you can increase your team’s vibration.
The first step is to dream of your ideal vibration. Arrange several meetings with the team and deeply think about what you really want and expect from an ideal team. Write them down. Why?
Because imagination is the most marvelous miraculous inconceivable power that the world has ever known. Every single creation process starts with imagination. Think of the Wright brothers. They first used their imagination faculty and built their desire in their mind to fly and then by an irrevocable committed decision, they converted it to reality in the physical world.
It is the manifestation of this sentence: If you can create something in your head, you can have it in your hand.
By making your ideal vibration transparent and repeating the required daily behaviors, you slowly change your vibration to higher levels.
I do want to bring the very sentence of the Scrum Guide here:
“Scrum is built upon by the collective intelligence of people using it”
It says you internally have the authority to improve your team’s vibration. So, why shouldn’t we use it?
The last word
Use these concise steps to change your vibration:
1- Be aware that your current results are the direct output of your current paradigm and vibration as a team.
2- Describe your current vibration in detail.
3- Describe your ideal vibration in detail.
4- Repetition is the key. So, repeat the required behaviors over and over and over again. You will be there. It is a law, not luck.