Putting together a high performance team is probably the most important ingredient of good agile adoption. If your company has a lack of team spirit, you are likely to have a pseudo agile-team. In my personal experience, with a pseudo agile-team, your agile adoption will fail. Sad, but brutally true.
One of the main signs of this behaviour could be noticed when a team avoids conflict during a sprint retrospective. However, it seems to be counter-intuitive because there are a lot of good books (written by good people) arguing that they will never touch on a dangerous issue (conflicts) during a retrospective.
With great respect to these authors, I must say:
*What? The retrospective is the most important mechanism to promote real improvements in your team. If you run away from the difficulties, how do you intend to promote these improvements?*
I know that it's not an easy approach. On top of that, I know that it could be very dangerous for the team formation, but, avoiding or delaying the real improvements could be more dangerous to your organization. Think about it.
Following the famous mantra of product management: *"fail fast"*, at the team level, we have a similar mantra. Inspired by this, from a team perspective, we can understand that this is very useful; we *"conflict fast"* to make deep and real improvements within the team dynamic.
If we take the Lencioni model as a reference, we can see that one of the dysfunctions of a team is: Fear of conflict. When a team is avoiding conflict, usually there's no trust among the team members.
Connecting this idea with the Tuckman model, when a team avoids conflict, they extend the forming phase. It is important to remember that for the Tuckman model, a team must face phases like forming, storming and norming before reaching the performance phase. There are no exceptions.
# How can we solve this?
In my experience, to solve this kind of issue, you as a facilitator, or leader, or ScrumMaster could create a secure environment where the team can promote the conversation about the most critical issues, about the behaviours, the thinking and the values. Lyssa Adkins, author of the famous book Coaching Agile Teams, pointed out that: *"Navigating conflict is our new mind-set, in which we help teams move from conflict to constructive disagreement as a catapult to high performance"*. Patrick Lencioni, author of The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, suggest that *"the first step to overcoming the fear of conflict is acknowledging that conflict is productive"*. These brief statements reinforces the gist of the Conflict Fast Model.
Of course, you don't need to apply the Conflict Fast at the first sprint, but as I mentioned before, you don’t need to apply that only to the the 30th sprint. Remember, you might carefully choose the right time to create a space where the team can put the Conflict Fast into practice.
In this session we'll discuss and experience a few ways to put the **Conflict Fast Model** into practice.