The prevalence of working from home in recent months has presented challenges for new starters. This is even more evident for new starters joining mature teams with established ways of working and an almost unwritten agreement about how things work in terms of the people, processes, and tools. The One Word Team Alliance creates a space where new members to a team can quickly understand existing ways of working.
The exercise avoids the traditional individual introductions – those can happen naturally – and helps a new team member understand more about the people who they will work with. In addition, this activity offers a space for the whole team to reflect on their shared values and working relationships.
As the facilitator, you have the opportunity to dig a little deeper with the reflections shared by the existing team members and with your new starter(s).
To explore things further you may want to ask the following challenging questions after each round:
When I first tried One Word Team Alliance, the new starters guessed all 4 words correctly which was great to help them with their initial introductions with the team. They came away with more of a feeling of what it meant to join an established team and understood some of the shared values.
Moreover, the exercise gave a chance to re-enforce some positive behaviours the team have demonstrated and to celebrate recent successes too.
This quick activity sets expectations for new starters about the existing culture of a team and helps them appreciate the space they are joining.
Thanks to Rita Gomes, one of my former Scrum Master peers, who put the seed of inspiration in my mind to create this team building exercise.
Enjoyed this activity? It is also available in our signature comic strip style for easy reading and sharing. View and download the pdf here.
Chris is an experienced Scrum Master with a demonstrated history of challenging the assumptions that impede Agile transformation. He's passionate about people and fostering the culture needed to grow and deliver great digital products.
Chris is a skilled trainer who has a hunger for learning, something he role models and aims to impart on the individuals and teams he works with. He's a Doctor of Philosophy with a background in further education and was a lecturer in history before becoming a Scrum Master.
SUPERPOWERS | Putting people first. Training. Education.
KRYPTONITE | Archaic processes. ‘Yes, but’. Expensive Post-it notes.
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