11 Steps to co-create a Team agreement

Monday, January 22, 2024

Primary Blog/11 Steps to co-create a Team agreement

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11 Steps to co-create a Team agreement

If you would like to listen to a summary of this blog, here's the YouTube link.

I was introduced to Team Agreements when I first started working with Scrum Teams in the early 2000’s. We called it "Team Working Agreement".

I’ve been enabling diverse and global teams across HR, senior leadership, business, marketing, sales, IT and more to co-create team agreements ever since. I’ve been coaching these teams on the value that Team agreements bring.

For me a good Team agreement is

1) a great place to start for any team!
2) a visual radiator of the teams way of working and accountability to each other
3) basic set of guidelines around the team’s way of working created by the team and for the team.
4) set of guidelines that can be revisited and updated as the team continuously learns over a period of time

Some of the Key Benefits that teams I work with get when using Team agreements are
1) It helps Increase alignment
2) It bypasses resistance to change
3) It helps to Increase engagement within the team
4) Team members get to know more deeply about each other’s ways of working and preferences
5) It brings co-ownership and co-accountability
6) It drastically reduces misunderstanding
7) It enables the team to continuously evolve their way of working proactively
8) It even serves as an inspiration to other teams

11 Key Steps that always work for my teams to co-create a Team working agreement

1) Identify an independent facilitator

This is especially important when you as a manager are a part of the workshop creating the team agreement with the team. Do not double-hat the roles. Invite someone from another team who can facilitate your Team agreement co-creation workshop.

2) Run this as a workshop

Once you have decided to co-create the Team agreement with the team, give it the priority it deserves. Run this exactly as a workshop.

3) Introduce the concept of Team agreement to all participating

Team agreement could mean different things to different people. It is important to bring alignment by introducing the concept of Team agreement in your context.

4) Align on the intent and value of Team agreement

Everyone has different perspectives. To completely reap the benefits of Team agreement, it is important to bring to surface everyone’s perspectives around the intent and value of a Team agreement. Be open to being challenged, running experiments and help bring alignment.

5) Align on what ‘co-creation’ means in the true sense
Co-creation is about working with the collective intelligence in the room to come up with solutions. With this approach we are able to bypass resistance, increase alignment and bring meaningful change.

6) Choose a template or start from a blank canvas

A template is a good trigger to initiate conversation. It gives us a starting point. We just need to be mindful that the template does not become the focus. It is the conversation and what evolves from the conversation that matters more.

It is possible that you begin with a template and completely change it as the earlier headlines in the template might no longer make sense for your team’s context.

Alternatively, you could just start with a blank canvas and co-create a template from scratch. Let the template emerge out of the conversations of the team.

7) Individually brainstorm and present your responses to each other

Invest some solo time brainstorming. Then take turns to present the responses to each other.

8) Review the Final Team agreement together as a team

Reviewing the final Team agreement gives each team member yet another opportunity to re-think and see if what they are all agreeing to still resonates. If anything, ofcourse they bring it surface and discuss. If any updates are needed, those are made once all agree.

9) Agree on a Review Frequency for your Team agreement
Team agreement is not a one and done thing. You would need to revisit this from time to time. It is important to agree on a frequency at which your whole team would like to review this at.

10) Sign the Team agreement

Whether you are in-person or remote, it is important that all team members sign this co-created Team working agreement.

11) Visually radiate your Team working agreement - 
“Information radiation over Information refrigeration”

There is no 1 fixed approach to radiate your team agreement. It depends on your context. Radiating your Team working agreement is important. It could even inspire other teams.

If we can create an environment where people are invited to contribute, they feel they’ve added value. This allows for more creative and better solutions that are co-owned.

So, why impose a solution when your teams can co-create and co-own it with you?


Monday, January 22, 2024

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Hi, I am Sarika Kharbanda

Change Facilitator and Change Hacker

I enable teams and organisations to breakdown Resistance barriers, build Organisational Change Muscle and strengthen Team Dynamics so that they can be resilient and thrive in fast-paced change.

I achieve this through training, coaching & facilitation of Modern change management, remote ways of working, Management 3.0 and business agility.