Working Agreements can proactively build safety for everyone, opening up divergent thinking and expanding on engagement.
As trainers and coaches, we can also learn from those that we help and be aware of how we can build our presence and theirs in the room (virtual or in person).
Working Agreements are best co-created with the group you are working with, and it can be helpful to bring an initial set to get kickstarted.
Begin by walking through the initial set of the Working Agreements and inviting any additional ideas to be added to the board.
Example Working Agreements
The initial set of Working Agreements in this template is essentially the five values of Scrum:
Commitment to each other's time and the timeboxes
Courage to ask the 'stupid question' (tip - there are no stupid questions!)
Focus on the outcomes with no multi-tasking (especially for remote training!)
Openness to share your whole self
Respect each other and everyone's perspective
Through the years of using this approach, three more remote-specific Working Agreements have been added:
"Vegas Rules" - what happens here, stays here! Ensuring participants understand that they are not being assessed for their performance can remove barriers to vulnerability.
Use Chat encourages participants to add comments, questions, suggestions and reflections into the chat window (e.g. on Zoom or MS Teams)
Cameras are a reminder rather than a demand. Of course, the reasons people have their cameras on or off could be anything from technology to boredom to anxiety to safety (kids in the background). We invite people to turn their cameras on if technology allows and feel safe enough.
Inclusion and evolution
Inclusivity is crucial to get shared accountability from everyone. Therefore, it's always a good idea to ensure the people in the room get a chance to challenge, develop or add to their Working Agreements. The space to the board's right allows for any additional Working Agreements from the group.
The final set will inherently be better than any you came up with - because it's theirs!
Confirmation of Working Agreements
To confirm the understanding and agreement of the Working Agreements, we invite participants to add their names to a sticky note and add to the board.
If anyone has not added their name, it could be an opportunity to find out what else is needed to help them feel safe.