As we all know, a working agreement is an essential tool for any team to operate effectively. It outlines the team's expectations, roles, and responsibilities, as well as how they will work together to achieve their goals.
However, there are three key components that are often overlooked but are crucial for a working agreement to be truly effective.
𝗛𝗼𝘄 𝘄𝗶𝗹𝗹 𝘄𝗲 𝗵𝗮𝗻𝗱𝗹𝗲 𝗰𝗼𝗻𝗳𝗹𝗶𝗰𝘁?
When things get tense, having a team charter with processes, practices and roles is not enough. To ensure that conflicts are resolved effectively, the team needs to have guidelines on how to handle them.
A working agreement that outlines specific behavioral behaviors for the team is essential. These behaviors, also known as "spiffy behaviors," can provide guidance on how to handle conflicts and other issues that may arise.
* Have a team discussion before escalating, acknowledge conflict
*Collaborate on how to de-escalate
* Have a one-on-one discussion with the person if it is a personal issue
* Don’t gossip or listen to gossip
These behaviors can help team members know what is expected of them and how to handle challenging situations.
𝗛𝗼𝘄 𝘄𝗶𝗹𝗹 𝘄𝗲 𝗺𝗮𝗸𝗲 𝗱𝗲𝗰𝗶𝘀𝗶𝗼𝗻𝘀?
Another crucial component of a great working agreement is decision-making processes. The agreement should outline how the team will make decisions on specific matters.
* Any team member can independently decide on (these types) of things and then communicate the decision (in this way)
* The entire team must agree on (these types) of decisions
* Majority vote for (these types) of decisions
* PO (or other role) makes final decision on (these types) of decisions
𝗛𝗼𝘄 𝘄𝗶𝗹𝗹 𝘄𝗲 𝗰𝗿𝗲𝗮𝘁𝗲 𝗮𝗰𝗰𝗼𝘂𝗻𝘁𝗮𝗯𝗶𝗹𝗶𝘁𝘆?
Finally, a working agreement that includes accountability and feedback mechanisms is vital. It should outline how the team will hold each other accountable for their actions and how they will provide feedback to each other.
* Include reflection and feedback on behaviors in our retrospectives
* Have a direct conversation with the person if you notice behavior that you think doesn’t align with the team agreements
* When you don’t agree, bring the issue (here)
Crafting a working agreement can be challenging, and it's easy to focus on the wrong aspects. The "Ugly" working agreement typically focuses on processes and events, their schedule, and who is involved, while the "Bad" one concentrates on roles and responsibilities, team skills, and work practices in place.
However, the "Good" working agreement should include the ways to collaborate and make decisions, values and norms, mission statement, product vision, goals, and growth opportunities. Don't forget to communicate and celebrate success too!
Remember, a well-crafted working agreement can save you a lot of headaches and misalignment down the road. So, don't be afraid to revise it constantly and set expectations up front.
Hope this helps you create a spiffy working agreement for your team!
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