In every organisation, when we consider good teams they have employees who have exceptional self-organizing and personal skills. However, when we consider forming Agile teams, expectations are exponential (often those expectations come from stakeholders). An Agile team is expected to deliver quality work efficiently. That’s a key concept for Agile practices and Agile projects.
In this article, we will discuss the key characteristics that make an Agile team truly ‘Agile’. We’ll explore Agile practices and the concepts behind successful agile teams.
What makes a team Agile?
The following themes feed into Agile principles and, when adopted by Agile team members, will transform and drive the development process. It underpins Agile project management and resource management.
The first and essential characteristic required for an Agile team is a clear sense of purpose. Nobody can perform to his/her best unless they know what they’re doing and what would be the likely consequences of their actions. Having a purpose motivates team members to work tirelessly in achieving assigned goals and reaching key metrics. Without a meaningful purpose an Agile team is no better than any other team. However, instilling this sense of purpose gets covered by the Agile coach. Usually, the product owner or team lead may articulate the purpose, by stating the commercial utility and business value of the software development.
Efficient Agile teams exhibit effective communication without behavioural barriers. Teams possessing robust communication skill sets can resolve issues quickly and outperform other teams. An Agile team is supposed to communicate effectively and present challenges before they become a problem. Moreover, Agile teams are designed for iterative product formation and problem solving. Communication, therefore, becomes an integral feature of its very existence.
Since an Agile team is a cross-functional team with members from different departments working together to achieve the same goal, transparency in sharing information and ideas become indispensable. For an Agile team, sharing of ideas and collaborating to generate solutions and continuous improvement is decidedly constitutive. This openness is one of the key characteristics of high performing teams and part of the agile manifesto. Adopting an agile mindset, encourages development teams in particular to work in increments and to collaborate and communicate constantly.
Since transparency is essential for building a high-performing Agile team, trust is another facet that brings cohesion and dependency within a team. Without trust, a team will disintegrate into elements of doubt and despair. Trust enables team members to come up with issues that are bothering them and to seek help without any second thoughts regardless of possible humiliation and disgrace. It aids teamwork and boosts team performance.
Agile teams work on a continual solution finding workflow to arrive at a fully deliverable product. However, perfection cannot be achieved until the team is willing to identify and accept inherent deficiencies and improve upon them. A successful Agile team expects its members to come up with the best possible solutions. Even though it has everyone on board, the team continually need room for improvement. They’re expected to explore user stories, to respond to testers’ feedback, to prioritise a product backlog and more elements constantly. The scrum framework, with a scrum master leading a scrum team, facilitates this workflow and iterative process of raising questions and problem solving. This agile methodology is an efficient and effective form of product development and project management.
If you’d like to learn more about Agile coaching and creating high performing agile teams, Leadership Tribe is here to help. We can provide accredited training in agile practices, agile software development, agile frameworks, scrum frameworks and more. Contact our knowledgeable team to find out more.