How to get started on a new team?

Posted By - Peter Zylka-Greger


Getting Started in a New Scrum Team

Getting started in a new Scrum team as a Scrum Master can be an exciting experience, but it can also be daunting. Here are some tips to help you start off on the right foot

1. Establish a good relationship with your new Scrum team from the start.

Set up 1:1 conversations early in the game with your team members to get a sense of who they are and at a later stage what their pain points are.

2. Listen, listen and listen again!

While it is important to add value through your own experience and expertise, your first priority as a new Scrum Master is to listen to your team. Try to suspend judgment as you begin to learn how your team works and what their needs are. You will be surprised by how much you will learn as you ask questions and take the time to really listen.

3. Be open to feedback and suggestions from your new Scrum team.

Rather than imposing your vision on the rest of the team, invite them to share their ideas and provide feedback on your approach. This will help you gain an understanding of what makes your team tick and help you build a strong rapport that will lead to greater success in the future.

4. Get to know key stakeholders outside of the development team.

Take the time to understand who is involved and how you can help them to be successful.

5. Pay your taxes.

We need to pay taxes in our daily lives, regardless if we like paying them or not. They are a way of society working, and to get them off your back (You do not want to mess with the IRS/tax agency), you need to be responsible and deal with them accordingly. The same applies when you deal with structures outside your team. Not paying your taxes will result in people making your team’s life more challenging and difficult. Paying taxes as a team will help you to build better relationships within the organization and allow your team more freedom to build their own culture bubble. (I learned this concept from Michael Sahota during one of his amazing CAL1/2 courses and it always works)

6. Listen more than you talk.

Oh – I did mention listening already under point #2. But it is important to remember to listen. In the beginning, when we join a new team, it would be easy to connect patterns we personally have seen in the past and apply them to the current situation we are presented with. As tempting as it might be to take this course of action, it will only get us in trouble since every situation is unique on its own, and we are missing vital information if we are too focused on our experience or preconceptions about the situation at hand. Whenever I feel tempted to jump in too early, one method that worked for me was to internally ask myself, “How can I stay curious just a bit longer?” This usually helps move me out of the mode of trying to prove my point and instead leaves me in the mindset to truly listen and observe what is actually happening before trying to “fix.”

I hope these tips can help you and your team on your journey of new beginnings!

What are tips you would share? What has worked for you in the past? I would love to hear about it!

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