Does your team consist of Team Workers?

The word ‘team‘ is one of the most commonly used words in the Scrum Guide. References to the Scrum Team include:

The team model in Scrum is designed to optimise flexibility, creativity, and productivity.

Scrum teams deliver products iteratively and incrementally, maximising opportunities for feedback.

The Scrum Guide, p6

Whether you are using Scrum or another software delivery method, it is highly likely that you will be working as a group in order to achieve some, if not all, of the above. Teams achieve these goals by working together — otherwise known as teamwork. Some of the key attributes that could describe what a ‘team worker‘ does (as defined by Focus Education Ltd.) are listed below: –

  • Engage in collaborative tasks
  • Prepare to listen to the ideas of others without interrupting them
  • Confidently share ideas with others
  • Consider views of all group members during discussions
  • Work harmoniously and constructively with others in joint activity
  • Make sure that everyone takes a turn when speaking
  • Maintain focus on a task and avoid distractions
  • Accept constructive criticism from others in the group to enable improvement in performance
  • Motivate others to contribute more effectively
  • Understand differences in opinions and respond positively
  • When suggesting ideas, be able to break them into smaller steps to suit the needs of the group
  • Be eager to discuss conflicting issues fairly and reach agreement that enables the group to move on
  • Make the most of other’s strengths when organising work

These characteristics can be applied to more than a software delivery team. Teachers at my daughter’s school used these attributes as assessment criteria for the ‘Team Worker’ skills of 5-to-11 year olds.

The purpose of teaching these skills is to empower the pupils learning. Other skills that they look to achieve are resourceful thinker, reflective learner and independent enquirer. There are two other skills, self-manager and effective participator, which I have previously blogged about.

If a group of 5-to-11 year olds can display these skills, so can the members of a software delivery team. If members of software delivery teams are unable to realise these attributes, then they will not be Team Workers. Not being able to demonstrate these skills may mean that it will take longer for the delivery to be completed, and/or the team will be less likely to succeed.

A version of this post was originally published as an article on the Scrum Alliance website on 12th May 2016. Read the original article at

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