I’d like to share my experiences of the workshops that are originated from the Agile Fairies. I’ve run these sessions with several teams now and found them particularly useful for forming new teams and for re-forming teams that have been through a period of disruption.

If I’m working with a new team, I generally run this as a morning session and follow it up with a Scrum 101 workshop.

The itinerary runs something like this:

  1. Icebreaker (10 mins): It’s good to talk
  2. Team definition (30 mins): What do we mean by ‘Team’?
  3. Quality definition (30 mins): What do we mean by ‘Quality’?
  4. Team manifesto (30 mins): The Pirates Charter

It’s Good To Talk – The profile card ice-breaker exercise (For new teams)

profile_cards_blog1This exercise is done in pairs and as with any ice-breaker, breaks down barriers to conversations. The nice thing is that the output is an index card which can be displayed on the wall of the team room.

The ice-breaker takes about 5 minutes and the task is to produce a profile card of each other with:

  • Name
  • Pet love
  • Pet hate
  • Contact details
  • Draw a photo quality portrait (i.e. it is recognisable as the person)

The drawing is approached with some trepidation by most people but also produces the most laughs and is the activity that many people remember.

What do we mean by ‘Team’?

What-do-we-mean-by-teamWe use ThemeStorming (sticky note clustering) to ensure we collect everybody’s ideas. The team is asked to write down on Post-Its what ‘Team’ means to them. Ideas are themed and each team member receives 3 dot votes to identify the most popular themes. The top 5 themes are noted.

I have found it useful to provide a starter for ten with this exercise. Start throwing around a few words which can begin to guide the conversation. Be careful though…It’s easy to start leading the conversation. We are looking for the teams intuition and knowledge!

What do we mean by ‘Quality’?

This is very similar to the previous exercise except that we are examining views on what the concept ‘Quality’ embodies for the team. The output should be the same. The team should be getting the hang of this by now and I usually provide a few examples of words to get the discussion going.

The Pirates Charter

what-do-we-mean-by-qualityI quite like to call this The Pirates Charter. I think that it gives a greater indication that the team is planning a voyage of discovery together as team and these are the values that they will hang their hat on. I have had this challenged by some people who feel there are negative connotations to the pirate metaphor, which is why I sometimes fall back to calling it the Team Manifesto. It depends on the team you are working with and business environment you are operating in.

Now we have the team values and the team’s definition of Quality, they are ready to create the charter or manifesto out of two A0 posters. An illustrated charter should be created by the team for the team.

Everyone signs the poster once it is completed, which re-affirms the values as a foundation for the team. The poster is displayed in the team room which reinforces commitment and provokes discussion with other people who pop-in to say hi.

Have you ever created a poster with a team?