Does your team have a cold?

I started running again recently.  It’s miserable when you have done NO exercise for so many years to start trying to get back into it.  I was following a plan that eases you back in and I was doing really well.  I had just about completed my fourth week.  That’s kind of a magical week for me when doing anything new because it’s right around the time something starts to become a habit and, well, it gets a little easier.

Enter THE COLD.  I was so miserable and, truly, not able to run.  The cold turned into an upper respiratory and went on and on and on despite my best efforts to be better.  By the time I felt better almost another four weeks had passed.  Earlier running almost habit….GONE.

I went for my first run on Monday and it was truly horrible.  I was amazed at how much I had lost and, honestly, thought about throwing in my shoes.  Today, I went out for my second one and it was easier.  Not awesome but, better.  I felt good and I’m pretty sure on Friday, it will be even easier.

It got me to thinking though how teams work so hard to get into their groove and establish new habits and sometimes, something happens to shake them up a bit.  Like…. a cold.  Maybe it’s a new team member joining or a major change in scope but, it throws them off their game.  It can be discouraging and, as a Scrum Master, you have to help them get better and quickly.  You don’t want the cold to turn into more and have them really thrown off their course.

So, how do you do this?

1. Pay attention to the mood of the room and be alert for the first symptoms

2.  If the symptoms persist, ask questions:  How do you guys feel everything is going?  Does something feel off?  Remember to be quiet and wait for them to break the silence.

3.  Keep the conversation going until they find the diagnosis.

4.  Ask the team the best way to treat it and start treatment immediately.

You don’t have to wait for a retro.  There’s a chance that will be too long.  Nip it in the bud early!

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