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The Imagination Fairy (A Scrum Master tale)

By Haim Deutsch • 31 Dec, 2016

I’m often asked “how can I influence my team? How do I empower them?”

Here is a case which occured to me at the last month.

I’m currently mentoring a development group in a company from the security sector, where the team have issues with their motivation and spirit, although its members are excellent professionals.

The team is divided into two locations due to individual security levels while low level guys are not allowed to attend in high security level facilities, and high security level guys don’t like to go down to confidential security level offices. On the other hand, I always thought that co-working shall improve dramatically the situation, but some of the team members opposed violently to this idea.

One month ago, I facilitated a retrospective, acting as the Scrum Master, and led them through a guided imagination session.  I instructed them to close their eyes, take a deep breath and describe to themselves how would an ideal team look like. I’ve guided them through this path, turning it into a self-inner journey, until they felt, physically, how it was to live and work within this great team. Then I anchored this representation.

I asked them to open their eyes and share with the team what their vision and fillings. These introverted guys turned to be amazingly verbal, and  drew their representation of the ideal team.

One sprint later, they planned a last release sprint dedicated to product stabilization, and we knew that they had some serious and complex bugs to deal with. I reminded them their own ideal team mental representation, which included very strongly the “working together” motif, and operated their anchoring, helped them to propose to sit all together in a low security level open space only for the duration of this last pre-release sprint. I was delighted to watch them agree to try a bug-hakaton of two weeks.

The retrospective of this last sprint was yesterday. The facts were that the team properly fixed incredibly complex bugs, working all together, the sprint was a success, the release was a success, but much more important, the team purely enjoyed working together, they bypassed their own block, and they are willing to continue to work together.

The power of imagination!

Love your team, and…. Leave some Hanukkah donuts for the Imagination Fairy.

Scrum Smart!

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