Mitigating Groupthink in Agile and DevOps Teams

Elevator Pitch

Recognizing and mitigating groupthink is the key to true collaboration in high-performing agile and DevOps teams.


Does your team overestimate its velocity and capacity? Is the team consistently in agreement with little discussion during daily standups, iteration planning or review meetings? Is silence perceived as acceptance? Close-knit teams may think they have agreement, on features, on technical approach, and on implementation, but in reality, collaboration may have become groupthink. Some aspects of the agile team that are meant to foster collaboration including self-organization and physical insulation may set the stage for groupthink.

Groupthink is the tendency of groups to minimize conflict and reach consensus without fully analyzing all aspects of their ideas. One way to mitigate groupthink is by using the CDE approach. Container Difference and Exchange are factors that influence how a team self-organizes, thinks and acts as a group.

In this presentation, using real-life examples, I’ll show how to recognize and mitigate groupthink in agile and DevOps teams. I’ll apply these theories to show agile teams how to manage their inevitable conflicts. I’ll review the factors leading to groupthink, show how to recognize the symptoms and develop some ways of preventing it by applying CDE theory. Using a case study participants will practice applying these concepts to their own teams and use them become high performing teams.



Gerie Owen

Gerie Owen is a Lead Quality Engineer at ZS. She is a Certified Scrum Master, Conference Presenter and Author on technology and testing topics. She enjoys analyzing and improving test processes and ...