After Scrum Mastering many teams, I have seen all kinds of approaches used to resolve a team issue or challenge. When I observe Coaches or Scrum Masters advice being offered with some insistence thrown in, I cringe a little. The reason why I cringe is because I used to be the person giving the “advice” with insistence. And, let’s be honest, it wasn’t advice. It was direction. Rather than advising, I have tried to learn offering.
Offering recognizes the teams status as an empowered, self-organizing unit. They can choose to accept your offer in whole or in part. They can also reject it and that’s OK. Teams need to chart their own course, try their own way and experiment. When they’re successful, it’s all theirs. When they’re not the learning is all theirs too and they will incorporate it into their next adventure. However…..
Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different results. – Albert Einstein
Sometimes, you have to put your foot down. For example, when a team is constantly committing (but not really) to too many story points in a sprint and can’t understand WHY they’re not able to complete them, putting a cap on points in the next sprint is a good thing to do (IMHO). That said, a lot will depend on the team. Are they honest with each other? Are they honest with themselves? Are you willing to have your advice followed, be unsuccessful and mess with the teams’ sense of empowerment? What is it you want them to learn? Really ask yourself tough questions before putting your foot down and identify other avenues to help return sanity to the team. Make sure your motivation and intention is pure.
No two teams are alike. What worked for one may or may not work for another. Google, offers multiple routes to get us from point A to point B but, the selection is in our own hands. The same should be true for teams. There is more than one “right” way and you’re not a traffic cop.