Scrum Values Focus and Respect
Agility Coaching
Agility Coaching

Pain: Team Toxin – Blaming

Team toxins are a natural part of team dynamics.  It is a natural human condition that requires intentional actions to reduce the effect on the team.  One toxin that affect team dynamic is blaming. There will be people who will blame other people or the organization for their own failures. Blaming often occurs when we are fearful or feel powerless about specific situations and do not want to face the consequences.  For example, we built a product with poor quality and was not transparent about the failures with others.

Blaming Definition: Attacking the person rather than the behavior.


  • “You did not tell me about the failed tests!”
  • Generalizations – “You always …” 
  • Deflective arguing – “I wonder if you noticed  the poor quality of the other team members”

Impact: Trust is lost between team members and feeling safe can become an issue.

People often receive blame as a form of criticism.  No one wants to be criticized or feel like they are less than another person. The erosion of team cohesion and performance is often the outcome of the blanking team toxin.

Gain: Scrum Values Focus and Respect

We do not want team members to check-out and not actively face team dynamic challenges, otherwise they are hiding feelings that will one day erupt like a volcano.  Create a team alliance chart that the team members can use to neutralize the toxin affecting team harmony. The team alliance chart will consist of six segments that include 1) Values 2) Value Definition, 3) Action, 4) Conflict, 5) Accountability, and 6) Signature.

Neutralizer: “Quality is owned by the team.  Can we all agree to share failed tests?“

Scrum values: Focus on the event and not the person.  Show Respect for people and culture.

KnolShare Agile training and coaching will help your organization team members achieve awesomeness by improving quality through Test Driven Development (TDD) and early integration to mitigate risks of delivering poor quality. Click to learn more about coaching and training.  We help people achieve awesomeness.

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