I am sure all of us have participated in creation of team social contracts at one time or the other. After reviewing so many Agile projects since the last several years, I have seen a unique correlation between what goes in the social contracts with the team dynamics.
Social contracts as we know are created by the team and they manage it. The items that enter the social contracts should help the team to create a positive and happy environment to work. Social contacts shouldn’t be used to resolve the conflicts in the team.
If the social contracts have items like “Don’t yell at your colleagues” or “Don’t throw rubbish on the floor”, I feel that there is some sense of urgency to see what’s happening in the team !!
Let us take the simple example of “Don’t throw rubbish on the floor”. Most of us will try to keep the working area clean. Even by any chance, we spill something immediately we make it point to clean it. Most of these issues related to cleaning and Hygiene are resolved or “should” be resolved through one on one discussions. If the team is unable to resolve it collaboratively and are relying on social contract to fix them, then there is a bigger issue to worry about.
Let me conclude this by asking: How does your social contract look ? Why did each of those items land in there ? What was going on in your team’s mind ?