A scrum master goes to court…and she finds trust.

A scrum master goes to court…and she finds trust.

I had the privilege of being called for jury service this year.

It’s incredible really, we can learn so much from people who have nothing to do with our line of work; we get to see things differently – it’s so renewing.

Spending several days with the same 11 jurors on the trial, as well as the same 2 barristers, the judge, the jury officer, an usher, the defendant and prosecution, little did I know how much I was about to witness and experience about something that we need a lot more of when taking the agile journey: TRUST. 

All of these people in their roles bought something very valuable to the ‘system’ that is justice.

The Usher – as a group of 12, you could say the entire trial process relied on this man getting us to the right room at the right time, and getting us out at the right times too. That’s trust…where it costs ££££’s every day to run trials.

The Jury Officer – the pro who explained the do’s and don’t’s, the who’s and why’s, and the how’s and when’s. Any question you had, this man would know the answer, or would make sure he got you the answer. He was our point of contact for everything during our time there. We trusted him.

The Barristers – one for the defendant, and one for the prosecution, who throughout the trial delivered their questions and statements respectfully and, considerately; always ready to repeat their words if needed. We trusted them to present the facts and evidence to us, and they trusted us to alert them through our usher if there was anything we didn’t understand/needed clarification on. This was an important aspect of ‘working together’ in the court room.

The defendant and prosecution– we trusted them to speak the truth on all counts being trialled so that we could come to a fair and just verdict.

And I save my favourite for last…

The Judge – A gentle man full of conviction who said to us, “I am the law. I will give you directions during this trial, and you must come to a unanimous verdict based on the directions I give.”

The very simple directions given before we left to start deliberation; “base your verdict on the facts and evidence provided in the trial, as well as your experience of the world.” I then vividly recall him saying, “In a way, you are like a team. You don’t know each other, but together you have to work out how to come to a decision, one which no one, including me, will over turn. We trust in you to do that. I will be here to offer direction if you need it, during your deliberation process”.

As a jury made up of 12 strangers from all sorts of backgrounds who were presented with several days of information, we were SO easily trusted to make a life changing decision for 2 groups of people who were affected by this trial, and even the Judge; the Law – the most powerful man in the system at that point, was going to fully accept and respect the journey we went on in order to reach our decision.

So…we were sent off to deliberate. We were a highly divided group in our views, but over the course of 2 days we achieved very close alignment.

This in itself was fascinating as we learned in that time what was important, and what was not, how to respect each others views and how not to judge each other. What helped us most were the seemingly minimal yet powerful directions given to us: “base your verdict on the facts and evidence provided, and your experience of the world.” We used that as our reference to guide our discussions which were all over the place at times. It helped us focus on relevancy. We all trusted in that way of working together to lead us to the final verdict.

In the end, we couldn’t reach a unanimous verdict even though that was what the Judge ordered. He was more than reassured by our efforts to come to a careful and considered verdict (as were we), and on that he accepted a majority verdict. Even a Judge won’t hold you to an initial ‘rule’ if he sees it won’t achieve anything more.

Final thoughts:

As a scrum master, I found the experience inspirational – everything about how each person communicated with us was an amazing set of lessons in working with people, sensitivities, working in an unknown system, in a hierarchy, with teams, in and around rules, and more; WITH TRUST at the heart of it all.

It’s left me pondering over why and how we could have so much trust placed in us in such life changing scenarios, yet in so many work places where it’s about product launches and stuff that isn’t really life changing, there is such a HUGE lack of trust from management or even our colleagues. It’s pretty sad really.

I’m glad I got to be a juror and I’d do it again at the drop of a hat. It was truly remarkable to witness trust in action in every part of the journey. It was all about being human, nothing more, nothing less, and it felt right. How else could you do it, if not in such a human way? Where trust exists (with a sprinkling of guidance) all sorts of teams are able to do their absolute best. It also seems to create harmony.

Trust is powerful. Trust.

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