How does a Scrum Master resolve conflicts between Scrum Teams?

The Complex Web of Team Conflicts

I’m sharing a topic that hits close to home that many may find a bit tricky to navigate, which is all about ‘resolving conflicts between scrum teams’. ๐Ÿ› ๏ธ

It’s not just about a hot debate between Bob and Dave; sometimes, it escalates to team conflicts that need our attention and resolution.

It’s a journey from pinpointing misunderstandings to fostering a cooperative spirit.

Let me walk you through my process, laced with empathy and understanding, ensuring harmony and collaboration reign supreme in your teams. ๐ŸŒŸ

Identifying the Real Conflict

Indeed, we’re venturing into an interesting territory. ๐Ÿ”

Conflict – the word often conjures images of heated arguments and a divide that seems impossible to bridge. However, in the agile world, we recognise that conflicts aren’t always between teams but often between individuals.

The heart of the issue lies in understanding that this “team conflict” is sometimes just a facade for interpersonal disputes.

I cannot stress enough the importance of zooming in on a personal level to uncover the roots of the issue.

Is it a genuine conflict or simply a misunderstanding that’s causing friction?

We can approach resolutions with greater clarity and empathy by shifting the focus from teams to individuals. ๐Ÿš€

Often, it’s a case of misalignment in words or thinking, creating friction that can be smoothly resolved with proper communication.

Let’s take a closer look at building bridges and a step-by-step guide to conflict resolution between Scrum Teams.

Step 1: Unraveling the Threads of Conflict

First things first, identifying whether a real conflict exists is paramount. What seems like a conflict is often just a misunderstanding – a slight misalignment in thoughts or words. Before we even think of assembling the teams in one room, it’s essential to understand each team’s perspective individually, exploring the nuances and perceptions surrounding the event.

Understanding the situation separately is my go-to approach before bringing everyone together during conflict resolution. It’s about walking through the timeline with them, grasping their context and their perception of events.

It’s a journey of revelation, where teams often realise they’re not viewing the whole picture. As a scrum master, I facilitate this process, helping teams see beyond their perspective and understand the broader context.

Step 2: Non-Violent Communication

So, here’s my favourite part.

Once we’ve mapped out the underlying issues, it’s time to facilitate a dialogue, promoting non-violent communication. This is where I encourage teams to express their observations and feelings without fostering negativity.

It’s about listening actively and understanding each other’s viewpoints without getting lost in emotional turmoil. ๐Ÿค

This method promotes a sense of empathy, where teams begin to see where the other is coming from. It fosters a space where people feel heard and understood, paving the way for amicable and constructive resolutions.

A Collaborative Endeavour

After all, we are all in this together, aren’t we?

It’s all about moving forward in a collaborative endeavour.

If a lingering friction still exists, it’s time to think collectively about moving forward. It’s not about pointing fingers but fostering a cooperative spirit where teams support each other to achieve common goals. ๐Ÿš€

I always urge teams to focus on the way forward, thinking about how to circumvent obstacles together rather than dwelling on past grievances.

It’s about taking action with accountability and focusing on how to support each other in the best possible way. After all, unity is strength, and together, we can achieve great heights! ๐Ÿค

Your Gateway to Becoming an Agile Peacemaker

Join me in my upcoming Agile and Scrum courses, where you can learn to be the catalyst for positive change in your organisation.

Let’s foster environments where collaboration and understanding are the norms, not the exceptions. ๐Ÿš€

Let’s build bridges, not walls. Remember, the journey towards collaboration starts with a single step!

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 https://www.agilesuccess.academy/courses/growing-scrum-masters-advanced

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 yearsโ€™ 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 https://www.johnmcfadyen.com or connect with John on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/johnmcfadyen/.

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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 Europeโ€™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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