Teams are more effective when they operate in environments that encourage learning and experimentation. Yet organizations and teams vary in how they recognize the value of learning and continuous improvement. For example, many organizations still consider meetups, training, and conferences as activities that should happen outside of regular work hours. 🤷♀️
How to improve? 🤔
👉 First, it is important to realize that there is no boundary between work and learning when it comes to complex tasks. The navigation of complex tasks through the application of advanced skills always involves learning. However, many organizations inhibit this by creating artificial boundaries between work and learning. They don’t provide teams with the budget 💰 and opportunities to purchase training, and educational material or to visit professional conferences. They also implicitly or explicitly treat learning-oriented events and workshops as distractions from work.
If you find that this is the case in your organization, your first priority should be to create more opportunities for learning. This can be as simple as arranging a modest learning budget for teams.
👉 Second, teams should be encouraged to dedicate time to each iteration to learn new skills or develop existing ones. This can be done through hackathons, free afternoons, or the shared exploration of new tools that might benefit a team. Most people are naturally inquisitive and interested in learning, and all they often need is to feel the space to do so.
👉 Third, management has to clearly signal to teams that learning is an important part of work. They can do this by setting an example and by rewarding learning when it happens.
Actions to start small and simple are:
1️⃣ Schedule a 1-hour session with another (Scrum) team from whom you think you can learn a lot.
2️⃣ As a team, pick one online meetup that is relevant to your craft and is scheduled for the next Sprint. Join it with as many of your team as possible.
3️⃣ As a team, make a list of 3 must-read blog posts, podcasts, or videos that you think everyone in your team should read. Read it individually and discuss it together during lunch.
What is your experience with creating a learning environment ❓ What recommendations do you have to help a team start improving❓
Creating a learning environment is one of the 20+ factors we measure to determine Agile & Scrum team effectiveness. Based on the results, teams receive evidence-based feedback on how to start improving.
Why don’t you give the Agile/Scrum Team Survey a try? We offer a free version focused on individual teams and a paid version that shows aggregated results of multiple teams.