GROW your scrum team
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The pressure is always on for more output, higher performance and to get through more work. When the boss talks about building a team, the first thing that comes to mind is recruitment and adding more people. However, that shouldn’t be the case as the loyal team you already have may just need to GROW. I used GROW in uppercase as it is an established model for goal setting and problem solving [1] and it doesn’t take much to see how it can align to and complement scrum.

The GROW Model

GROW is a simple abbreviation for the model that is:

  • Goal – The endpoint.
  • Reality – The current situation with its issues and challenges to reach the goal.
  • Options – Routes to tackle the challenges and get to the goal.
  • Will – Level of determination and will power to achieve the way forward to the goal.

“Stay focused, believe that you can achieve at the highest level, surround yourself with others who believe in you, and do not stray from your goal.”
Zach Ertz

GROW and scrum

So how does GROW relate to scrum? And how does this simple acronym help us to focus on a few points to make a team effective.


Is the sprint goal clearly and concisely communicated and understood? What ss it the first thing discussed? is it hard to express? or takes several sentences to write down or can only be created at the end of the planning session, then you need to decide if it is a goal you are working towards or just a summary. Be especially wary of the “bag of stuff”, where the sprint contains lots of useful items that the team can work diligently to deliver but there is no connection between them and at the end, there is no “Wow”.


Do the team all understand the current situation. The capacity of the team, the skill set and experience, the level of clarity of the acceptance criteria for the goal, what is “done”? And what are the challenges – which include technical, resources, risk, time, cost and quality?


In the refinement and planning sessions do the team discuss options, or just jump to a single conclusion. Are they open to alternate routes, perhaps brainstorm a few things and positively support each other to list the options. Can they then critically analyse them, be objective and able to explain the pros and cons, or research further through open questions to better understand the impact of the different options and challenges. Is there clarity in where the value comes from and the areas that don’t add significant value?


Are the team committed and confident to deliver the work in the sprint? Are they aware of their velocity (standard rate of work), their capacity for this sprint (accounting for holidays, absence etc) and sure of the work and their estimates (having completed a proper user refinement of the requirement). Above all are they smiling? At the start of the sprint, they need to feel that as a group they are heading to a successful outcome.

And Finally

A small amount of investment to grow your scrum team with clarity on objectives and being realistic may be all that is needed rather than growing and expanding the team.


[1] GROW Model,

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