Today I’m going to share with you my observation about application of the team trust canvas. Furthermore, I would say, I’m going to present several hypothesizes which are based on my experience.

Around one year ago I presented the team trust canvas – a new facilitated tool for growing team trust. You can read about the canvas here. Briefly, the canvas consists of 9 blocks (Clarity, Connection, Compassion, Value, Competency, Commitment, Contribution, Consistency + Block with question: What else is important for us?”) and you can start from any of them.

During this last year my colleagues and I tested this tool with different teams. We applied it for retrospectives, for team building and for team forming etc. And now it is time to check our results.

Hypothesis #1 The team’s focus depends on its maturity

The first outcome which I got from these experiments was the team’s focus. When I asked different teams to work with the canvas they focused on concrete blocks rather then the whole. Furthermore, they were generating a lot of ideas on how to improve it. How was it? Let’s consider several examples.

Example: “The new team”. It was a new agile team which was formed around a month ago. Together we decided to organize a team building workshop and I brought the team canvas as one possible activity. What really impressed me was that the team focused generally on only two parts of the canvas. They discussed actions associated only with Clarity and Connections. The other parts of the canvas were not relevant for them. I found it very interesting and decided to repeat the experiment with another team.

Example: The team has been working together for around 3-4 months. During the last retro I suggested the team to test the canvas. What did we actually get? My guys addressed trust issues to other parts of the canvas: Value, Competency, Commitment. What did it mean? Let’s continue and discuss the third example.

Examples: The third team consisted of experts who had been working together over a year. We decided to check the canvas and were talking about trust during the short workshop. The result was amazing. People talked about Compassion and self-compassion and how to support each other during their project (Consistency).

What could I conclude? Does it mean that being at different levels of maturity teams focused on different «Trust parts»? I would suggest it correlate with Tuckman’s Team Development Model (pic). Let’s assume the next hypothesis: the team trust will correlate with the team maturity. It is not necessary to push the team to think about Consistency and Compassion if they haven’t built Clarity and Connections.

Hypothesis #2 The indicator of maturity

After the first hypothesis I would like to suggest the second one. Is it true that working with the canvas we might “measure” the maturity of the team. Imagine, you are a Scrum-Master and you are going to start work with a new team. Organize a small workshop, bring the canvas and encourage them to work with it. Maybe the result will present not only the steps to build team trust, but a more complete picture about the team’s maturity. And it will help you to choose the correct way of coaching.

Of course that, like any hypothesis it is only a hypothesis and it requires verification and accumulation of some date. When we work with people and teams, any assumption is tested empirically. But I hope my observations are useful to you and that you may consider using them in your projects.

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