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"Why an Agile Team Charter is Essential to Success" - Smart File - February 11, 2016

posted Jul 11, 2016, 3:48 PM by Anjuan Simmons   [ updated Jul 22, 2016, 8:52 AM ]
2) Team Culture Rules / Constitution

The team culture or constitution helps the agile team charter establish the handling of activities and how a team will ultimately collaborate and work together. At the heart of these culture rules is the Agile Manifesto’s principles, which discusses project development processes through small innovations and team collaboration at a high level.


Anjuan Simmons, the Agile Project Manager at Assemble Systems and a Certified Scrum Master and owner of AnjuanSimmons.com, prefers to use a Code of Conduct and Constitution document instead of a charter because an agile team charter finds its roots in the waterfall methodology, an outdated method of project management. However, his Team Constitution fits nicely into our full charter with regards to culture:
  • How do I decline to take part in something (lunch and learn, happy hour, etc.)?
  • How do we start team activities (meetings, retrospectives, reviews, etc.)?
  • How do we ask for help from each other?
  • What do we do if someone does something in violation of the Team Code of Conduct or Team Constitution?
  • How do I check someone’s intention if I think they are doing something that I think will not result in a positive outcome?
  • How do we make decisions as a team? Do we take votes? How are votes counted?
  • What constitutes a majority?
  • How do we meet the needs of those who lose votes and get them to support the decision of the team?
3) Team Code of Conduct / Communication Rules

The code of conduct or culture rules of your agile environment establishes how the team will communicate with one another. This is an important element to ensure each member is respected and their ideas are heard.

Here’s Anjuan’s Code of Conduct:
  • When we meet as a group, each individual will give total attention, without distraction, to the person speaking.
  • No discussion will be interrupted except by the least intrusive means possible.
  • All ideas will be treated with respect.
  • Rejection of an idea will not be seen as rejection of the source.
  • The best idea will be supported regardless of the source.
  • Majority support for an idea will be sufficient for its ratification regardless of any individual distaste for the idea.
  • No actions will be taken to deliberately cause harm.
  • Seeking to understand will be preferred to seeking to be understood.

You’ll also see some rules that discuss the frequency of meetings, attendance requirements and, if minutes are taken, when they’ll be sent out.

Overall, the goal of your agile charter is to build an awesome product for your end-user that solves a problem by keeping your team focused. Everybody’s agile charter is a little different, and some people, like Anjuan, choose to call it something completely different. Regardless, you need a foundation for your project team to ensure that everyone is moving in the same direction in a quick and respectful manner that solves the end-user’s problem.

"Why an Agile Team Charter is Essential to Success"
Smart File