In the next iteration, I thought a lot about how I could have turned the tide in the previous retrospective to improve confidence. I remembered the five dysfunctions of a Patrick Lencioni team and how that team reported almost all the dysfunctions, from lack of confidence and fear of conflict to inattention to results and lack of commitment. Lencioni says, "To trust is to know that when a team member pushes you, they do it because they take care of the team." I needed all the team members who felt they could trust and hold each other to account to make their contributions important. What I should have done was acknowledge their hard work and create a psychologically safe environment before sharing my observations. So I thought I was going to try an experiment to improve safety in the team and overcome barriers. I told the team that they should be willing to share something personal with the whole group at our next retrospective. India went next, but only the superior spoke and repeated the same feelings. This team believed that they had worked exceptionally hard and they were really well! The retrospective lasted less than 15 minutes without anyone identifying the need for improvement. No barriers were identified; In fact, I was sure that everyone sincerely believed that there was none! It turned out to be more difficult than I expected.
While the team clearly worked hard during the sprint, the iteration goals were not met. It should justify a conversation. This team needed help understanding how to improve. Work agreements are one of the main pacts that need and use all the right Agile teams. For those of you who are unfamily with work agreements, they are nothing more than agreed protocols established by the team to settle their interactions and clarify expectations. . . .