Setting Expectations between Team Members

A couple of months I posted a new game on Tasty Cupcakes that Shawn Button and I experimented with.

I’ve had the chance to use it a few times since then and wanted to share the outcome of the most recent attempt.

Context: A new, non-software, team was assembled from 5 different marketing departments in order to work on stuff together for 4 months. ┬áThis in and of itself is an experiment because the organization isn’t sure exactly how ‘Agile in non-software’ is going to work. The immediate focus was to be able to get new products to market sooner by eliminating the hops and handoffs between groups.

Team Composition: 1 ‘uber’ product owner, 3 ‘stream’ product owners, a scrum master and 5 core team members. ┬áThe uber product owner is responsible for the overall portfolio and the 3 product owners are responsible for one program each within that portfolio.

Pretty much everyone was new to Scrum and Agile. A couple of them worked on a previous “Sprint” (a project or time-period of a project are called Sprints here…)

Part of the liftoff for this team was to play The Newlywed Game, but with different dimensions to it.

The team wrote down the answers to these questions:

  • what do you expect from your scrum master?
  • what do you expect from your product owner(s)?

The scrum master wrote down the answers to these questions:

  • what do you expect from the team?
  • what do you expect from the product owner(s)?

I think you can guess what questions the product owners answered!


After the discussion, we posted this on our team room wall. After the first “sprint of this sprint” is done, we’ll review it and have another discussion.

What they liked:

  • it helped frame the conversations
  • it helped ‘break the ice’ as most of these folks hadn’t work together before
  • it was kinda fun! (no weird looks when I fired up the Newlywed theme!)

What was confusing:

  • would have been helpful to visualize the grid first, sometimes we were confused about which question, and from whom’s perspective, we were focused on

Overall, it went well and I’m planning on keeping this game in my arsenal for a while.