Since its creation in the early 2000s, Agile has been gradually used in the technology field and, eventually, in areas that were not related to IT at all. Today, it is common to find companies of different expertise applying Agile practices to keep business running by making use of an Agile team.
On the other hand, there are companies that still need to start applying Agile – the first step is to understand this set of practices, and the second step is to form an Agile team.
According to The Enterprisers Project, one of our top websites to quote in this subject, the most important steps to building a great Agile team are only three:
- Team balance – when the right people are put in the right places, the team can experience positive outcomes regarding flexibility or collaboration. For an effective balance to be achieved, staff must be analyzed and placed in equivalent roles.
- Failure – in Agile, committing errors is not something to be ashamed of. When a team fails, its members learn with their mistakes so those can be avoided in the future. The challenge lies in teaching this philosophy to staff. Since people often see failure in a bad light, it is of utmost importance for the company to include in its culture an understanding of the importance of failures.
- Communication – the most important trait of an Agile team is being able to communicate. With clear and transparent communication, team members can learn from mistakes (as mentioned), raise issues, give input, and congratulate one another on their achievements.
Agile teams are composed of stakeholders, developers, product owners, coaches and Scrum masters that follow exactly the three points mentioned above. Members often have several shared skills and an open mindset for dealing with one another or with diversity. Sometimes, mentorship is necessary – but even when staff don’t know what Agile is, they can still perform it exceptionally well after learning.
Every Agile team goes through a process found in Tuckman’s Stages of Team Development. More recently, the stages have been updated, and consist of: forming, storming, norming, performing and adjourning.
The forming stage is for the introductions. In this stage, team members have their roles defined and project expectations cleared. In the storming stage, the different opinions are brought to life and conflicts tend to arise. But remember – Agile teams solve their arising issues thanks to their open minds.
Next comes the norming stage, in which a team is already more confident – the project’s goal is well-defined and members have their efforts recognized. On the performing stage, there is more trust and successes are more celebrated, since team members now have more confidence, giving more deliverables.
And, last but not least, the updated version – the adjourning stage. In here, the team goes through the “lesson learned” phase and disbands, causing potential sadness. After learning about the project and one another, and delivering the final product, the members have done their duties and must part ways, bidding farewell with a party.
This is a process all Agile teams go through. Now, for this process to even start, an Agile team must come to light, first of all.
Now that we have discussed what an Agile team is, let’s see tips on how to create one.
Atlassian is a favourite source of ours, and has created and article with such tips:
Be aware of Tuckman’s Stages
Once you are familiar with the forming, storming, norming, performing and adjourning previously mentioned, you also understand it takes time. Patience is a virtue in Agile.
With Agile, not everything is 100 per cent certain and stable forever. Change is a constant variant with this methodology, unlike its rival Waterfall – Agile teams must know to embrace and adapt to frequent changes in the process of making a final product.
Final outcome over process
Once the end result is decided, it is time to discuss how to get there. An Agile team does not need to dwell on the way of the journey, allowing itself to take the liberty of choosing different paths – that is because what matters is the end. This gives team members more confidence to innovate or express opinions, and everyone becomes responsible for how the final product turned out, rather than only for their individual actions.
Feed on feedback
Constant feedback from clients or stakeholders is an Agile best-practice. When creating an Agile team, make sure members do not hide or ignore issues that arise – they have to be able to listen and learn from all the feedback they can get, so they can always improve more and more up until the final product is done.
To form an Agile team, there has to be trust among everyone involved. A true Agile team cannot function without characteristics already known to those familiar with this set of practices – communication, collaboration and transparency, but also trust. Team members must trust that others will make ends meet, get tasks done, and take care of their individual responsibilities for the sake of the entire team.
Agile is a great choice of practices for projects to get done, and forming an Agile team is a great way to make sure projects will be done well. Here at iTechtions, we excel in providing clients with the support they need to form Agile teams.
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