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What are 3 non-negotiable elements for a scrum team to succeed?

What are 3 non-negotiable elements for a scrum team to succeed?

As you know by now, as a Scrum Master, I get asked many questions about Scrum. Most recently, I was asked to give my opinion on the three non-negotiable elements for a Scrum team to succeed. πŸš€

So, today I’d like to address this question as it intrigued me and led me to reflect on my own experiences, and I’m excited to share my thoughts with you all! Let’s dive right in. πŸ‘‡


So, I’d say the very first non-negotiable element must be a team of competent developers. It’s not just about already having the skills; it’s about the ability to learn, adapt and innovate.

As I always say, “You need people who have the competency to solve the problem, even if they don’t initially know, that means they are able to learn how.” πŸ’‘

I firmly believe that if you put new developers in with experienced developers and through mentorship, through doing the do, they will get great.

But always remember that no amount of Scrum or Agile methodology can ensure success without a solid foundation of competency. Remember, #CompetenceIsKey! 🌟


The second non-negotiable element is a strong sense of purpose – a clear understanding of what the team is doing and a strong sense of why. This ‘why’ is not just about the end product. The impact, the bigger picture, and the personal motivations drive each team member. 🎯

I think the ‘why’ could even be one of the most motivating factors that we can put in place to find purpose in our work.

Even when the organization’s purpose is not directly cause-based, we must capture those individual motivations.

As I often mention, we need to find the hook for teams, for individuals. It can be about building the best product or becoming better at what they do. Each person’s ‘why’ is equally important, whether we’re building the best product or simply being better at what we do.


Last but not least, a successful Scrum team needs the freedom to decide for themselves, which comes down to autonomy. Scrum is not about mindlessly following orders. We need to give teams the autonomy to try things out and bring their creativity, initiative, and their own passions to the table.

Just because that’s how we’ve always delivered it in the past doesn’t mean it’s the right thing to do now. That autonomy fosters a learning environment where problem-solving skills grow, improving immediate tasks and preparing for future challenges.

So to sum this all up, I’d say the three non-negotiable elements for a Scrum team to succeed are competency, purpose, and autonomy. The team will thrive once these three crucial elements are understood and applied! πŸ’ͺ

If this piqued your interest and you want to dive deeper into the world of Agile and Scrum, check out my Agile and Scrum courses.

We delve into these concepts and much more, providing you with practical tools and knowledge to lead successful Scrum teams. πŸ’«

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

#agile #agilecoach #agilecoaching #agileprojectmanagement #agileproductdevelopment #agility #businessagility #scrum #scrummaster #scrumtraining #scrumcertification #scrumalliance #agilecentre #johnmcfadyen #coach #coaching #certifiedscrummaster

Keywords: Scrum Team Success, Competency, Purpose-Driven Work, Autonomy

Hashtags: #Scrum #Agile #ScrumMaster #ScrumTeam #SuccessInScrum

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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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