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  • Writer's pictureMark Rajpal

Allow Your Teams to FAIL

Allow the team to Fail What? That's crazy talk. Why would I ever do that? What good can possibly come of that? Standing by and watching someone fail is really hard for a Scrum Master. In fact, it's hard for anybody. But it is necessary. Simply put (in user story format): As a Scrum Master I need to allow my teams to fail so that they learn from their mistakes. It's just as important to learn how NOT to do something as it is to learn how to do something correctly. Failure presents these learning opportunities. That doesn't mean we let the team fall off a cliff. It does mean we knowingly (or unknowingly) allow for small failures because we know this will benefit the team in the long run. Here's an example: During Sprint Planning, ask the team how they will prioritize their work but don't influence their decision. Most teams that are unfamiliar with Agile with push the risky stories for the end. More than likely they will be unable to complete the riskiest story because they simply left it for the end and ran out of time. This presents a teaching opportunity where you educate them on the importance of front-loading risky user stories. In this case, not only did the team learn from their mistake but they only built up their Agile Mindset. They understood WHY it's important to front-load risky user stories. Building the Mindset is a really important step in the Agile journey and sometimes it comes about through failure.

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