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Social Contract

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What is it?

The Social Contract is a simple, yet highly effective manner to enable team autonomy and self accountability for engagements. It looks to codify the behaviors and expectations of the team. And between the team and its management. This is by identifying behaviors that they desire to see from their teammates and managers. To effectively use this practice you should look to create the following outcomes:

  • Public display of the social contract
  • Revisit the social contract often and update it as necessary
  • Nobody is above the contract
  • The team agreed holds each other accountable to the contract

Why use a Social Contract?

  • Quick means to clearly determine team dynamics and expectations
  • Promote autonomy and self governing of team behavior
  • The contract keeps the team consciously aware of how they work together
  • Collaborative Face Drawing1 is a great ice breaker or after lunch activity. Your Social Contract can be a nicely decorated with the faces of the team to show their commitment to the contract.
  • Working Agreements2 are a form of social contract often used to help establish behavioral standards between peers on a team. This is a great alternative if you do not have stakeholders or sponsors buying in to a Social Contract.

Who do you need?

  • Facilitator
  • The Team
  • Stakeholders/Sponsors

Suggested Time

  • ~10 min

Difficulty

  • Facilitator: Easy
  • Participants: Easy

Facilitation Materials Needed

  • Wall space which will hold sticky notes.
  • Whiteboard markers
  • Stickies (preferably a wide variety)

Process Phase

Beginning of engagement and revisited at any time.

External References

  1. Collaborative Face Drawing
  2. Working Agreements for a Scrum Team
  3. Social Contract