Does competition exist amongst Scrum Teams? Would you encourage or discourage it?

Harnessing Competition in Scrum Teams: Navigating the Balance

When we talk about competition, especially in a collaborative environment like Scrum, it often comes with a sense of caution. 🤔

However, my experiences have shown me that competition isn’t always a black-or-white issue. To the question, “Does competition exist between Scrum teams?” I find myself answering – “Yes, and yes.”

Inherent Drive of Professionals

“You’ve got groups of professionals who want to do their best job. They take immense pride in their work’s quality and the outcomes they deliver,” I often tell people. 🚀

This innate human desire to excel, to be “good at stuff”, naturally introduces a competitive edge. This isn’t about being better than another team or being better than you were yesterday.

Benefits of Collective Growth

In Scrum, teams continually share these discoveries when they are learning, experimenting, and innovating. 💡

One team’s “eureka moment” is often another’s learning opportunity. “Hey, I found this thing. Do you want to know how it works?” a team member might offer. It’s a culture of sharing and growth, where competition is about collective improvement rather than rivalry.

Dangers of Misplaced Competition

But there’s a line, and crossing it can be detrimental. 🛑

Unhealthy competition can creep in when teams move from striving for self-improvement to focusing on outdoing others.

Teams might withhold information or become obstructive. It’s essential to understand that such behaviours stem from deeper issues within organisational structures or policies that may inadvertently promote rivalry.

Creating an Empowering Environment

As Scrum Masters, our aim isn’t to pit teams against each other but to create an environment conducive to growth. 🌱

It’s about nurturing healthy competition that propels teams forward collectively and curbing tendencies that lead to discord.

Unearth More Insights on Your Scrum Journey

Keen to delve deeper into managing team dynamics and fostering a positive Scrum environment? 💡

Join me in my Agile and Scrum courses and let’s channel the true essence of competition into growth and innovation. 🔥

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John McFadyen Managing Partner
John McFadyen is an Executive and Enterprise Agile Coach with proven experience working on some of the UK and Europe’s largest, most complex Agile Transformations. As a Certified Scrum Trainer, John brings a wealth of experience as an Agile coach, Agile practitioner and software developer into each of the four core courses he provides. The war stories, the insights into successful Agile transformations and everything he has learned from coaching high-performance Agile teams combine to provide course delegates with a unique, compelling training experience that transforms as much as it empowers.

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