5 Dysfunctions of a Team Addressed by Scrum Master

This is the first blog in a mini-series about High Performance via Psychological Safety Addressed by Scrum Master. This topic was inspired from the Modern Agile.

Teamwork, no matter the intentions at the start of any agile project, can be derailed by even the smallest factors. As a Scrum Master, you need to learn how to identify the five dysfunctions of a team so that your team can address them and avoid letting them grind your production to a halt.

The Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick LENCIONI

The five dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni

Need for Strategies to Overcome …

  • Absence of Trust: The fear of being vulnerable with team members prevents the building of trust within the team.
  • Fear of Conflict: The desire to preserve artificial harmony stifles the occurrence of productive ideological conflict.
  • Lack of Commitment: The lack of clarity of buy-in prevents team members from making decisions they will stick to.
  • Avoidance of Accountability: The need to avoid interpersonal discomfort prevents team members from holding one another accountable.
  • Inattention to Results: The pursuit of individual goals and personal status erodes the focus on collective success.

The Five Dysfunctions of a Team Workshop

While designing this workshop I had in mind one driver: engage all the attendees and unleash the collective wisdom of the Scrum Masters. Hence, I used some Liberating Structures, as building blocks for this workshop. I will detail in a specific section the Liberating Structures formats that I have used.

The workshop’s string follows a 3-phases creativity process:

  1. Opening: Connect attendee each to other and break the ice toward the topic of psychological safety. I used the Impromptu Networking for this purpose. The invitation will be detailed later in the blog.
  2. Exploring: Is the core of the workshop and is composed of two building blocks: the Five Dysfunctions of a Team Awareness workshop, optionally followed by one (or all) of the workshops focusing on each dysfunction.
  3. Closing: Volunteered Scrum Masters will share with the others their learning takeaway and their next actions. I used the Shift and Share LS for the closure.

The Opening is based on an Impromptu Networking as an icebreaker to start the workshop. It raises the energy level and kicks off the conversation between participants. The invitation for the Impromptu networking is a list of questions depicted here after and which helps the Scrum Master to reflect himself/herself on his/her own psychological safety .

In this blog I will focus on the first building block of the workshop, which is the 5 Dysfunctions of a Team Awareness. This building block is depicted here below:

This workshop building block is composed in it’s turn of three phases: What, So What and Now What which is similar to the WWW Liberating Structure (there are some fractals here 😉 )


  1. [2 min] Introduce the five dysfunctions of a Team with Patrick Lencioni ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GCxct4CR-To )
  2. [4 min] Each Scrum Master to self-Assess the 5 dysfunctions of his/her team using the standard form from Lencioni.
  3. [2min] Each Scrum Master to share on the Global Board her/his score.

So What?

  1. [1 min] Self-Organize into 5 groups for wise crowd structure. For the wise crowd questioning process use the appropriate material based on the observations of both successful teams and teams with the dysfunction accordingly.
  2. [15 min] For each group build minimum specs for a Dysfunction. Use the suggested templates (Trust, Conflict, Commitment, Accountability, Results) for the minimum specs.

Now What?

  1. [5 min] Each focused group working on one of the five categories will share the Min Specs poster on the wall. It is time for Museum walk !
  2. [10 min] Now Each Scrum Master will self reflect and decide, with the current resources he/she actually has, what are the next actions he/she is going to take that will help him positively impact the team from some aspects of the 5 dysfunctions. This is the 15% structure. The Scrum Masters could use the specific 15% notes templates.

Liberating Structures Used in this String


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