Frameworks and Psychological safety

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Scrum is the most popular structure for teamwork in software teams and has now travelled 30 years, all the time improving from the original values. Today these values are Openness, Focus, Courage, Respect and Commitment. Psychological Safety can especially relate to Openness and Courage as you need both for a Psychological Safety environment. I used to have all five words as part of the workshops I do when starting up a new team. In practice, I let the team discuss these five words and what they mean to them, or if they find them not applicable for any reason. If all words are accepted, we add them to our team charter, together with other core values. But beware of creating a sect instead of a team. More about sects here.

Modern Agile was an update in 2011 of the Agile Manifesto (2001) and added Psychological Safety as a prerequisite for Agility. Making safety a prerequisite requires ensuring that our collaborations, products, and services are safe. Modern Agile tries to “protect people’s time, money, health, information, reputation and relationships”. Instead of corporate platitudes, like ”We take your safety seriously”, Modern Agile treats safety as a foundation not to be compromised with. Regardless of what framework you adhere to, I think the core value Safety is the Number One priority before delivery or process aspects. But beware of catchy slogans on the walls…!

The most popular framework for big companies scaling Agile to several teams is SAFe. I consider SAFe as a great guardrail for companies with low Agile maturity and lots of money to pay consultants with, instead of building their own framework. SAFe is adaptive and changes more and more to the better, stealing with pride from other frameworks, and will probably soon have a separate chapter on Psychological Safety?

Meanwhile we will have this sentence on SAFe homepage about leadership[1] only to guide us:

“Psychological Safety occurs when leaders create an environment for risk-taking that supports change without fear of negative consequences to self-image, status or career.”

© Scaled Agile, Inc.

This is a part of the book Psychological UNsafety from the trenches you can order or read more about here.

[1]SAFE leadership: