Application of theory U, in agile coaching

Right now I am in the middle of a consulting assignment of transitioning a large team from ‘scrum buts’ to right scrum. When I say right scrum, I refer to the scrum guide by Ken Schwaber and Jeff Sutherland which can be downloaded from Scrum.org

This team from a very large multi national product company came with the baggage of ‘I know scrum, and now you teach me scrum’ attitude, because they have been practicing some sort of scrum, and this was not new for me, as I have seen the same attitude in several other teams. Since agile is value based, like religion, once the faith is lost,  it is very difficult to restore it. No amount of persuasion would have convinced them. At least that is my judgment, based on experience with similar teams with some experience in scrum (scrum but teams). In the normal course, I would have proceeded with that judgment.

As a coincidence, this is the time I came across the theory ‘U’ which was advocating the postponement of the three fears of;

  • Fear of judgment
  • Fear of cynicism
  • Fear of change

for effective change management.

I decided to implement the concept of ‘postponement of these fears’ at every stakeholder level, me being the first one. All the coaching sessions started with the request to postpone these fears till the completion of the first sprint, and the results are very positive. After experiencing the right scrum, most of these fears are automatically addressed and eliminated.

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