Think on different organizational layers

When i started to learn about Scrum, it was a great mind opening pleasure for me to have some easy rules combined with a set of values and best practices. Over the years seeing multipe more or less agile surroundings it got crystal clear to me, that without the management support Scrum can only work in a small scale. At best on team level. But often without a good environment its doomed to only give some team members an inner peace. With this differentiation somehow i started to look for habitats where everone is convinced to go with a process. But this was not all what popped up in my mind. After a while i realized, that there are more layers than a person and a team. Sure, its really obvious, but here’s the observation:

  • teams are composed of team members,
  • departments are composed of teams,
  • companies are composed of departments,
  • companies have partners,
  • companies have customers,
  • companies have competitors in markets and
  • last, but not least, there is the rest of the world.

What can we do with this list of layers as for instance as a Scrum Master? First of it all it helped me reflect my (re-)actions. So whenever i get a question from any team member, i try not to answer immediately. I started to ask myself things like:

  • What would be best for this team member?
  • What would be best for the team of this guy?
  • … and so o, up to the whole universe

This little thoughts made my answers more holistic and helped to build a better environment. The next step i am going with these questions is, that i start to open the minds of my team members and colleagues by asking them back. So if somebody asks me “I see, that XYZ is happening between colleague A and colleague B. I feel the urge to do something about it! What should i do and where should i start?”, than i can ask him back

  • “What would be best for your team?” followed by
  • “What would be best for your department?”
  • and so on…

Twice i already remembered to go this way. The interesting point was, that the questioner came out of the mind of doing things for the sake of doing things into a state to deeply think in a bigger scale. The best part about it was, that both persons understood the problem better and saw how hard it will be to find a good solution. As you recognize, i am not talking about the best solution, because you never know, what would be really best to do. Sometimes there are only bad solution and you’re doomed to find the least bad solution. But with the knowledge, that there are many solutions i find myself often giving more valuable answers than before or i even lead by questions.


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