Live by your Principals - a team charter anti-pattern
Team Charters are well meaning, but don't really change the way in which we build software. In this presentation I will talk about how we need instead to live by principals that drive how we design and build software rather than how we interact within a team.
Many agile teams begin their project creating a team charter that describes the behavioural expectations for the team. In my experience nearly all of my teams charters have been quite similar to each other. If an organisation places an emphasis on cultural fit during hiring, and continues to reinforce behaviours, this is even more likely to occur.
A team charter that states that people should collaborate, be respectful, raise concerns promptly and make time to play is repeating standards that are really part of an organization's culture, and often set the behavioural bar way too low.
Instead a A team charter should be a set of guiding principals similar to the Agile Manifesto that helps teams make decisions on how they are going to build software, and the sacrifices that they are willing to make to get the right outcome for the business.
Outline/Structure of the Talk
I'm not planning on using presentations, rather a combination of prepared A1 posters, scribing as I go, and writing down audience feedback and comments.
- A short introduction about who I am and why I think having a set of principals is important.
- Explain the difference between organisation culture and team principals.
- A short story about my introduction to having a guiding principal while on holidays in Egypt.
- Show an example team charter and ask the audience on whether it helps people make difficult decisions.
- Ask they audience whether they have a time when their personal principals were tested. Did having principals help them make the right decision?
- Relate this back to the Agile Manifesto and how it asks people to value on course of action over another
- Discuss a few principals that my current agile team use, and how they have helped us with successful decision making, and how it has enabled us to hit our PI goals for the past 8 months.
- Ask they audience whether they have any team principals that they've used to help their team make difficult decisions.
- Talk about challenging principals, how they assist other teams with their interactions with you.
- Talk about and ask the audience how they have reinforced or adapted their principals over time.
That people learn that setting a team charter or values needs to stretch them and assist them in making difficult decisions, and that principals are of no value unless they are constantly tested.
Scrum Masters, Product Owners,
Prerequisites for Attendees
Have worked in agile software development teams.
Not be afraid to speak up and discuss their own experience.