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How does a Scrum Master build and maintain a high-performing Scrum team?

Building and Maintaining a High-Performing Scrum Team

I want to unravel the essentials and intricate nuances surrounding the quintessential question – “How does a Scrum Master build and maintain a high-performing Scrum team?” πŸš€

So, let’s delve deep into the crucial aspect that forms the cornerstone of any Agile project. Look at those foundational stages to set up a team for success.

It all circles back to answering a critical question: “Why does this team exist?”

It’s time we talk about what truly matters from day one.

Setting the Stage: The Early Days

In the very early days, it’s about acknowledging the purpose and truly understanding why the team has been brought together.

This isn’t just about establishing the groundwork; it’s about instilling a belief in the purpose that brings us together every morning. 🌟

To foster motivation, we must establish a product goal or vision that resonates with everyone.

It should explain, “This is why this product matters.”

And it shouldn’t just be anyone conveying this vision. Someone senior needs to come in and show that they care, to articulate why the team has been brought together, and how their role impacts the larger scheme of things.

This narrative forms the nucleus of our team’s existence, giving us a reason, a mission that we can rally around – a foundation that answers “Why do we matter?” and “Why should we turn up to work and do our best?”

Defining Goals and Tracking Progress

But why stop at the broader picture? Let’s zoom in and understand our role in this larger narrative.

Understanding the team’s role at a micro level is just as vital. 🎯


Because we need to gauge how we are tracking towards the overarching goal, how we fit in, and how our progression is mapped quantitatively. This is essentially starting with the “why”. It acts as a compass, directing us towards what matters the most.

Constructing a Unified Team

Let’s talk more about forming a cohesive unit, which involves the team dynamics and the norms.

Moving onto more logistical aspects, defining “who is genuinely in the team” is important. Establishing a clear demarcation helps understand the core team members and others who play a significant role in the initiative. 🀝

In tandem with this, it’s vital to chalk out working agreements and team norms. A good team citizen’s depiction should be discussed openly to forge a harmonious working environment.

These agreements define how we value our time, family, and home life and how we plan to respect these values during our journey.

Cultivating Relationships Beyond Work

Forming relationships that transcend the boundaries of professional camaraderie is essential. Building relationships that go beyond work is a vital aspect. It’s a more excellent workplace and more powerful if they like each other.

It’s not just about fostering professional respect but also cultivating a personal connection and understanding each other’s likes and dislikes.

It’s all about creating a conducive environment where everyone knows each other more personally, is aligned, and is moving on the same page.

Let your hair down if you’ve got some, and get to know each other on a more personal level.

Continuous Dialogue and Contextual Understanding

Lastly, as we forge ahead, understanding the context of the work is pivotal. This involves awareness of potential constraints, technological challenges, and organisational expectations that might influence the project.

Open conversations and continual dialogue are critical here.

This process is heavily inspired by the concepts illustrated in the book by Ainsley Nies and Diana Larsen, called Lift Off, where the emphasis is on agile chartering and nurturing teams right from the inception, setting them up for success.

Ready to dive even deeper into the world of Agile and Scrum? πŸŽ“

I invite you to join my comprehensive courses, where we unravel the intricacies of building and maintaining high-performing scrum teams, among other vital topics.

Equip yourself with the tools and strategies to lead your team to success. Let’s embark on this transformative journey together! 🎯

If you are interested in becoming an agile coach and value mentored, coach-driven skills development in your journey to mastery, visit our Growing Agile Coaches page.

If you are inspired by the idea of an online apprenticeship for a scrum master, visit

If you like the idea of becoming a scrum master and want to achieve internationally recognised and certified accreditation as a scrum master, visit our Certified Scrum Master (CSM) course page.

If you are already a scrum master and want to upskill to a more advanced level of knowledge and agile coaching capability, visit our Advanced Certified Scrum Master (A-CSM) course page.

If you have several years’ experience as a scrum master and want to validate and certify your professional skills, visit our Certified Scrum Professional Scrum Master (CSP-SM) course page.

For more information on John McFadyen, visit or connect with John on LinkedIn at

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Keywords: David Marque, Stephen Bungay, Agile Leadership, Influential Thought Leaders

Hashtags: #AgileLeadership #ThoughtLeadership #AgileTransformation #ScrumMaster


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author avatar
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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