When a team is first brought together to accomplish a specific purpose, the world is full of possibility. The team is usually energetic and excited by their own potential. Unfortunately, that energy doesn’t always last forever. It’s normal for teams to encounter issues and roadblocks that bring down morale. Especially in agile software development, it can be common for teams to take heavy hits when working in organizations that don’t understand or trust how agile works. Recovering from those losses and regaining momentum can be hard, but not impossible. If you’re a Scrum Master, here’s how you can help the team find the sunny side of work life again.



 One of the questions used on the Gallup Q12 survey to determine employee engagement asks employees if it is evident that someone at work cares about them. That’s a powerful question with interesting implications about the role of a Scrum Master in regards to motivation. Often, people just want to be heard.


When things aren’t going so hot for your team, schedule some time for them (as a whole or on an individual basis) to sit down and talk about what’s going on. Allowing people a safe space to get their frustrations off of their chests without judgement will make them feel appreciated and relieve some of the stress that occurs when things aren’t going as planned. As a bonus, it will give you an opportunity to take note of the roadblocks that the team is encountering so that you can tackle them later.


In Scrum, you’ll recognize that this “venting” can occur naturally within the very important Retrospective event, which is also the perfect place to try out our next tip.


Problem Solve Together

 Another finding from the Gallup survey is that employees want to be included in decision making. They want their opinions to matter. But this isn’t just about making the team feel valued—it’s also sound business advice. The people doing the work on the team are always going to have the most knowledge about the factors that play into roadblocks and potential solutions.


When your team runs into a brick wall blocking their progress, ask for their advice on how to tear it down or work around it. As a Scrum Master, it’s your job to remove impediments from the team, but that doesn’t mean that you should do it in a vacuum. Getting the team involved in problem solving gives them agency over a part of their jobs that they likely feel has been taken out of their hands. It also reignites that creative passion and ownership of the project.


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