Social exclusion for bad apples

So far, we have learned

  1. The bad apple effect – a single, toxic team member can create group-wide dysfunction
  2. Emotions are contagious – when someone else experiences an emotion, mirror neurons light up the exact same areas of our brain as if we were experiencing that emotion ourselves.
  3. Social contracts are a nice way of establishing a set of desired group norms, and can provide a “container” for the team to manage its own conflict, including defective behaviour.

In this post, the forth in the Agile Team series, we look into techniques for working with people who continually act out of sync with the team culture and norms. In particular, we investigate how social exclusion can be used as a highly effective deterrent of bad behaviour.

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Is strategy dead?

Frederick_Winslow_Taylor_crop

There is a fundamental change in management happening under out feet that is challenging the very need for strategy. Small changes are happening every day and in ten years’ time we won’t recognise management as we have thought of it in the past. … [Continue reading]

Using Scrum for Organisational Change Management

emperor

When I first started doing Scrum I was focused on project delivery. As a software professional I wanted to find better ways of delivering customer value and Scrum made total sense to me. But as I applied Scrum, I started to realise that Scrum … [Continue reading]

Lyssa Adkins is coming to New Zealand

Big news - Lyssa Adkins and Michael Spayd are finally coming to NZ. When I attended their training in 2010 it completely changed how I approached agile work. Since then I have been trying to get them here and have finally pulled it off! … [Continue reading]

The 2013 Scrum Guide changes

SF2

During my three weeks recently in the US I caught up with Scrum creators Ken Schwaber and Jeff Sutherland. Following this I thought I would pull together a post about the key changes to the 2013 Scrum Guide. … [Continue reading]

How to make a social contract and build better teams

happyteam

In post one and two in this series, we discovered how emotions and behaviours are contagious and can have a dramatic impact on a team. Let’s now explore some approaches that help encourage positive behaviour and help us manage when things get … [Continue reading]

Emotions are contagious: how yours impact others around you

angel-crying

You know how when you see someone smile, you smile too? Or when you see someone crying, you feel their sadness. Well that’s because of an incredible phenomenon called mirror neurons. Understanding mirror neurons is a critical aspect of  team … [Continue reading]

Does your team have a bad apple?

intervention

A fascinating recent study has shown that a single, toxic team member can create group team wide dysfunction and breakdown. We have all worked in teams where there is one “difficult” person.  They seem to take up a disproportionate amount of the … [Continue reading]

Behaviour dynamics in agile teams: The Agile Teams Series

One of my passions is teams - working with them, helping them improve and figuring out what makes a good one.  In his book Software for your Head, Jim and Michele McCarthy made a simple statement that resonates with me: Team= Product. That is, a good … [Continue reading]

Agile Testing: from linear to cyclical thinking

The New New Product Development Game - HBR

One of the patterns I have often witnessed in agile projects is testers really struggling to shift their mind-sets away from relay race thinking. The common problem goes something like this: “Scrum wastes our time. Us testers don’t have anything to … [Continue reading]