SPA Conference session: Improving Trust in Teams

One-line description:Teamwork depends on being able to trust team members. How can we help improve trust?
Session format: Workshop (75 mins) [read about the different session types]
Abstract:A common challenge many of us face is how to build trust on software development teams. Trust seems like a fluffy concept and so it's not always obvious how to foster trust within a software team. This is a concern because a lack of trust deters us from collaboration and teamwork.

You can take some practical steps to improve trust. To identify these, we must first develop an understanding of the nature of trust relationships at work. Come to this workshop to explore factors that help and hinder the development of trust in software development organisations and what steps you can take to improve the situation.
Audience background:This workshop does not require participants to have specific skills. We'll be reflecting on the experience of workshop participants in how lack of trust manifests in software development organisations so it would help if people have relevant stories to tell. This workshop is relevant to any job role - architects, designers, developers, managers, testers, etc.
Benefits of participating:Opportunity to share your experience about situations where trust flourished or was lacking.
Discover the factors that increase and reduce trust in situations. Learn to apply force-field analysis to explore driving and restraining forces related to building trust. Learn from personal experiences within the workshop group.

Materials provided:Coloured markers and post-it notes.
Process:The workshop starts with an introduction to the topic of trust with audience interaction encouraged.

Force-field analysis is introduced as a tool that can be used to explore driving and restraining forces related to a desired change. We will do a worked example to demonstrate how to apply this technique in a coaching situation.

We move into groupwork around tables to draw force-field charts based on experience of individuals in the workgroups.

We create a gallery of force-field charts on the walls (if allowed otherwise on table tops) and encourage the groups to circulate in a “world cafe” fashion.

We ask people to return to their tables for a debrief of lessons learned. Capturing main points in poster form.
Detailed timetable:00:00-00:15 Introduction - a short slide presentation and open discussion.
00:15-00:30 Move into work groups 3-4 people in each group sharing stories of low/high trust situations.
00:30-00:40 Selection of stories shared with whole group.
00:40-00:55 work groups create Force-field charts of factors hindering/helping trust.
00:55-00:60 review gallery of force-field charts.
00:60-00:75 create posters summarising actions we can take to improve trust on teams
Outputs:Groups will create force-field charts and a poster summarising actions to improve trust on flipchart paper. These can be posted up on walls at Davidson Building during the conference. The presenter will also transcribe these onto the conference wiki.
History:I have run a workshop on the same topic at XPDay2009, XP2010, and Agile Business conference 2010. I have also give some talks on the Trust Equation. However, I'm changing the workshop format to make it more participatory and reducing the time allocated to introducing the topic at the beginning.
1. Rachel Davies
Agile Experience Ltd
2. 3.