Building Trust for a safe Agile team

Alexandre Claus
3 min readFeb 18, 2022
Photo by Ronda Dorsey on Unsplash

In a series of articles, I will share my studies on what, in my opinion, is essential to understand for a true Scrum Master and Agile Coach, but I guess this also applies to any human being.

So for my first article, I will share how important it is to build “Trust”.

Confidence is undoubtedly a complicated subject to define. To give the best of ourselves, it is necessary to feel confident.

The goal is to create a virtuous circle to be authentic and as we are, without value judgment; this promotes transparency, which is one of the values advocated by the Scrum framework.

Through trust, team members push their limits and discover new abilities.

Confidence is necessary if not essential for Agility, although it is difficult to define. Some studies refer to “confidence” by the acronym “BRAVING”.

Brené Brown uses this acronym BRAVING to talk about the elements necessary to establish that trust; she says that you are “BRAVING” a connection with someone you trust.

· Boundaries (Borders or limits of our space)
Everyone is careful to respect their space and the space of others.
The scrum framework defines a space, the sprint, which allows the team to keep a particular focus and self-organize; the Scrum Master ensures that this space is not infringed. They ensure that other stakeholders do not interfere and provide a secure environment as a coach does for their Coachee.

· Reliability
Knowing how to be reliable and honest is necessary to build trust. It’s about being consistent over time. The Scrum Master must therefore set an example just as a coach must remain faithful to their code of ethics.
This ties in with the guiding commitment value of Scrum.

· Accountability
“I hold you responsible for the things you said you would do.” The Scrum guide explicitly states that the development team is responsible; it is the sole responsibility of a team member. There is also a notion of unconditional solidarity, which is therefore essential.

· Vault (Discretion and Confidentiality)
The Scrum framework mainly uses the “retrospective”. A feedback meeting at the end of execution allows the whole team to discuss what went well, but also what did not go well.
It is then for the Scrum Master to identify upstream what is not being said to deal with any misunderstandings or complaints between the different members of the team.
This ceremony only occurs between team members, and what is said stays in the room.

· Integrity
It’s about having the courage to say it as it is, to communicate clearly by staying “straight in your boots.”
The Scrum team should be courageous and honest, especially when not showing the unfinished parts at the sprint review meeting. It’s about not pretending that aspects of development are finished when they are not.

· Non-Judgment
It’s about not prejudging teammates on their willingness to do well.
“You may be in trouble and ask for help; I am not going to judge you; likewise, I can be too, and I expect not to be considered either. “
We are practising-judgment honours the fact that we can all be vulnerable.
It is essential to consider that we also learn from our mistakes; this will also allow us to benefit from the feedback necessary for continuous improvement to be efficient. This represents the value of transparency in the context of Scrum.

· Generosity
It’s about the team seeing that no one does things with bad intentions. The goal is to speak frankly, with honesty, without preconceptions. Thanks to the coaching skills available to the Scrum Master, he will help generate a virtuous circle and thus participate in formalising a benevolent framework between team members.

Like many of us, it pays to explore how we behave and build and instil trust. Use this acronym BRAVING to go deeper with yourself and others.