How to Create a High-Performing Scrum Team 

How to Create a High-Performing Scrum Team 

What is a high-performing Scrum team and how we can build one? Find out here how is usually structured.

Rugby fans out there should be already familiar with the term ‘scrum’. For those who are less sporty, a scrum is a rugby resuming technique in which players pack tightly together with their heads down and try to obtain possession of the ball. The concept of a scrum is the same whether you’re playing rugby, football, or project management. “Scrumming” occurs when team members get together to plan and perform their next set of duties. 

So, what exactly is a Scrum Team? In simple terms, a scrum team is a group of people (5 – 9 individuals) who collaborate together in order to provide the needed product increments. They all share several tasks and duties that would be connected to the product delivery, and therefore, Scrum Team members are encouraged to work together in the same place whenever practical. 

A structure like this helps team members to communicate effectively so that they may work toward a single objective, follow the same norms and conventions, and show respect for one another. As a result, a team should be cross-functional, meaning that it should contain all of the responsibilities and abilities required to bring the product or concept to life.  

How is a Scrum Team Usually Structured? 

scrum team

The structure of a scrum team is made of the Product Owner, the Scrum Master, and the development team, with every role being intimately connected. This means that a product owner’s relationship with the development team is critical to their success, just as it is with the Scrum Master. In other words, a bad Product Owner may quickly destroy a high-performing team. 

The Scrum Masters are the ones held responsible for the Scrum Team’s effectiveness. Naturally, the objective is to get the team to a point where the benefits of collaboration can be seen. When the collaboration is done well, this is when the team begins to work as a cohesive one, resulting in increased production and excellent achievements. Although there is no one-size-fits-all approach to getting your team to that point, Masters should be aware of how their team grows and matures as they learn to work together more effectively. 

Now the question is: How can a Scrum Master Create a High-Performing Scrum Team? 

There are a few ways a Scrum Master may assist the Scrum Team in progressing through the early stages of development towards high-performance, and thus to the point where the team can truly reap the advantages of cooperation and achieve outstanding outcomes. The Tuckman Model, established by Bruce Tuckman, can be used to better explain this. After watching small groups from diverse perspectives, he was able to discover five phases of growth that all teams must go through to reach optimal effectiveness.  

Moreover, it is simple to grasp and remember, which implies that a team should be able to pick it up fast and put it into practice. It also provides managers and team leaders with an idea of what to expect while assembling their team. 

Stage 1: Forming 

After a group of people has gotten together, the forming stage begins. At this point, the team doesn’t really exist since it’s simply a group of people who don’t know how to work together or communicate effectively. The members would still be learning about one another, as well as their jobs, interests, and ambitions. As a result, productivity is rather poor at this point since the members are very much individualistic and attempt to avoid confrontation. 

scrum team

In order to assist the team in achieving strong outcomes, it is critical to have the support of a good mentor, who might be an Agile Lead or a Scrum Master.  

Let’s go back to the rugby team example, making the Coach the Scrum Master. The behaviors of a former organizational structure (which may still persist) are naturally, and inevitably, brought into the team initially, meaning that each team member is constantly attempted to focus solely on their own task and regards the rest of the team as unrelated to their own. Defensive players would only be concerned with defending, while attackers would only be concerned with scoring goals. At this point, the Coach must instill in them the understanding that, regardless of their position, they should all go down to defend or else all help to finish a goal. The evolution of a team, however, is a long and difficult process for both the squad and the coach. After all, the team as a whole is the one that scores a touchdown or solves issues in project management. 

Stage 2: Storming 

Individuals connect with one another and form interpersonal bonds as they spend more time together. What’s inevitable though, is that as time goes by and numbers grow, difficult circumstances will emerge. The storming stage is when a team navigates and responds to conflict. Despite the fact that trust has been created at this stage of team growth, members begin to communicate their differences because although being classified as a team, they are really simply a bunch of individuals, people from various departments who are now confronting high-pressure conditions together. 

If a Scrum Master wants to create a high-performing Scrum Team, they must go through this stage and demonstrate their differences. The Scrum Master should handle any arising difficulties at the earliest possible stages so as to cultivate a culture of trust and cooperation. This way, the members would communicate, express themselves and learn to collaborate to identify and resolve issues. 

Stage 3: Norming 

The following evolutionary step, according to Tuckman’s hypothesis, is known as ‘norming.’ Some teams may be in a perpetual state of conflict and think that it is unavoidable. At this stage, team members feel like they’re part of a well-organized, cohesive unit with high goals. They are linked to a single cause, even if they do not entirely share all of their duties.  

A successful Scrum Master is able to see the dispute in a constructive light. It is imperative that the team moves forward! This might be accomplished by holding a retrospective workshop with the purpose of assessing the team and developing an improvement plan, which ultimately brings us to the next evolutionary stage. 

Stage 4: Performing 

Naturally, not all teams will reach this stage, just as in the previous steps. Organizations that get to this stage can be labeled as successful ones after having to overcome a variety of challenges. 

At this point, the team members are well acquainted with one another and are capable of effectively managing conflict. At the same time, they’re highly motivated, prepared to operate as a team, and they’re eager to develop. A good scrum team uses the previous steps as an opportunity to well examine their flaws, find improvement spots, and establish solutions to solve or minimize these challenges throughout their growth. 

Stage 5: Adjourning 

In 1975, Bruce Tuckman improved his idea by adding the fifth step. This phase presupposes that project teams are only in place for a limited duration. This means that after the team’s goal is completed, the squad disbands. Since team members typically find it difficult to part from those with whom they’ve built deep ties, this stage might be compared to a breakup. Also, because it is usual for team members to experience loss when the group is broken, this phase is frequently referred to as the “mourning phase.” 

Recognizing and respecting people’s sensitivities is beneficial from an organizational standpoint. This is especially true if the members of the group have formed a strong relationship and are feeling threatened by the change. This feels easier for persons with high steadiness qualities. 

While this model can surely aid in the formation of a successful team, it’s equally critical to consider some other factors, for example: 

Keeping risks at a minimum 

If the market situation permits, it is critical that the transition to the new paradigm is accomplished with the least amount of risk possible. An excellent practice would be to conduct a test, which would entail the Master forming a cross-functional team to test the practice before implementing it throughout the whole business. 

Efficiency takes a whole team 

It takes a whole team to deliver high-quality products. A Scrum Master must therefore ensure that the whole Scrum Team is aware of how the organization offers value to their clients. To get the greatest outcomes, one needs to actively include the Scrum Team in conversations about what should be built.  

Surround the team with a safe environment in which it is OK to fail 

“If failure is not an option, then neither is success.” – Seth Godin. 

With every step, any team goes through the possibility of failing. The way a team should be handled when it fails is critical to its success. Failure should be tolerated as long as the members strive to learn from it so that they succeed in the future. 

The 5 Dysfunctions of a Team model by Patrick Lencioni demonstrates why psychological safety is critical for developing a high-performing team. Psychological safety occurs when members of a team feel comfortable taking chances and being vulnerable in front of one another. This implies that psychological safety is also required for a Scrum Team to perform successfully. A process framework can only lead to a better working process if it is built on a psychological safety basis that allows for failure and experimentation. 


While these dynamics may appear to be simple to implement, some Masters may encounter difficulty, particularly when it comes to structural changes. It’s unrealistic to expect a team to become “self-organized” as soon as they start utilizing agile as a framework. This can only be accomplished through time. To really become “self-organized,” a Scrum Team must be given a chance to encounter various problems and use each stage as an opportunity to learn and gain experience.  

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