Other Practical Steps


Managing Conflict in Agile Teams
The 5 Whys

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Course Description 

This module is about managing conflict. It outlines a management strategy for dealing with constructive and destructive conflict and introduces a range of troubleshooting methods to identify the cause of conflict, including the ‘5 Whys’ technique. After that, it provides guidance on the techniques that you can use to resolve conflict situations.   

Learning Objectives 

The objectives of this course are to provide you with and understanding of: 

  • The different strategies for managing conflict. 
  • The management behaviors which support effect conflict resolution. 
  • The different methods which can be used to deal with conflict. 
  • The analysis techniques which can be used to troubleshoot and solve non-complex problems.  
  • The Scrum Master’s role in managing conflict. 
  • The techniques a Scrum Master can use to manage conflict within Agile teams. 
  • The importance of emotional intelligence in effectively addressing conflict situations. 

Intended Audience 

The course is aimed at the Agile Scrum Master. However, it’s equally relevant to the Product Owner’s role in the team. 

Prerequisites of the Certifications 

There are no specific pre-requisites to study this course 


We welcome all feedback and suggestions - please contact us at qa.elearningadmin@qa.com to let us know what you think. 


In this video we’re going to take a quick tour of a few other practical steps you can take to help mitigate and manage conflict situations. You’ll find links to more information in each of these areas in the Managing Conflicts Resources 


Working agreements 

You may already use working agreements – they’re great when you’re setting up a new team and should be created collaboratively with the team members. 


They don’t need to be a document – they could just be written on post-its or a whiteboard. As you can see, they set the ground rules by stating the mission, responsibilities and metrics, as well as capturing strengths, skills and growth opportunities of the team. Values and norms are helpful to set the standards the team will work to 



I’m not going to go into how you brainstorm but it’s a useful technique for generating ideas quickly. There’s more information on different approaches to brainstorming in the ‘Brainstorming and conflict resolution’ resource guide. 


Enforcing HR policies 

Written HR policies provide guidance to managers and employees on how conflicts and other issues should be handled. These include formal mechanisms to help employees resolve differences and measures to stop retaliation against employees who raise concerns. 


If you’re not sure what policies you have to support you, contact your local HR representative. 



Events in Scrum encourage collaboration which, as a logical extension, promotes conflict. However, the transparency promoted in the three pillars of Agile mean that conflict is more apparent and provides an early opportunity to deal with it. 


Empiricism is about making decisions based on what’s actually been experienced so transparency, inspection and adaptation are critical to move forward in a positive way. 


Scrum values 

The five Scrum Values help the Scrum Master and team mitigate and resolve conflictFor example, ‘by having respect forpeople's diverse backgrounds, experiences, and range of skills, teams are able to effectively solve complex problems in creative ways’. 


I guess you know what the values are by now, but look them up if you need to. Think about each of the them and consider how they can help mitigate or resolve conflict. 


There’s more information about working agreements in the ‘Team Working Agreement Canvass’ guide and more about brainstorming and conflict resolution, empiricism and Scrum values in the other guides. You’ll find links in the Managing Conflict Resources. 

About the Author
Learning Paths

Tony has over 20 years’ experience in Business Development, Business Change, Consulting, and Project/Program Management working with public, private, and third sector organizations.

He has helped organizations to design and create processes and procedures to align ways of working with corporate strategy. A highly motivated and detailed solution provider, utilizing a wide range of methods and frameworks to provide structure whilst promoting creativity and innovation.

As a confident and self-motivated professional with excellent communication skills, Tony is able to bring people together and get them working as a team quickly.

Tony is an Agile and Scrum trainer with a vast knowledge spanning IT Systems, Business Change, Program and Project Management. With excellent presentation skills and a solid background, he ensures that all clients gain maximum benefit from his training. He has successfully guided those new to the industry through their initial training, helped experienced staff as they progress in their careers, and worked at the director level advising on best use and practice, as well as tailoring courses to fulfil the exact needs of clients.