Agile team development has turned into a hot new trend in business in recent years. What started as a software development approach meant to help teams keep up with the rapid growth of digital technologies has spread throughout organisations, with other divisions looking to reap similar benefits within their teams.
An agile team strategy will outperform traditional bureaucratic or hierarchical team structures in a dynamic and uncertain environment. But ratifying this approach is not as easy as putting an agile label over an existing team.
So, what should CEOs think about when it comes to implementing and optimising agile teams? Here are three potential starting points.
1. Create and Maintain an Ideal Team Balance.
Agile teams require adaptability, flexibility, and effective collaboration. But, unfortunately, you won’t be able to do this until you have the right people in place.
For example, risk-averse technical professionals, such as engineers, may find it difficult to adjust to the agility of an agile team professional with a “futuristic” mindset.
On the other hand, working in an agile team environment could be comfortable with the ambiguity of working but may spend more time dreaming than experimenting, which can overpower efficiency. These types of “people issues” are the most significant barrier to adopting an agile methodology.
Breaking down and reconfiguring staff assignments is a standard part of building an agile team. To start, organisations should examine the entire workforce’s work habits, styles and personalities.
After, personal strengths and weaknesses should be identified to achieve the goal of forming a well-balanced team capable of meeting the project’s objectives and scope. Again, it’s critical to avoid pigeonholing team members while going through this process. In an agile world, this can be avoided by providing sufficient support and feedback to staff and ensuring a collective understanding of each team member’s strengths and weaknesses.
2. Understand and Accept Failure.
One of the most common blunders about agile teams is that they lack structure and rules. On the surface, bringing together multiple work personalities in a fast-paced environment in the hopes of achieving a single goal may appear to be chaos; however, successful agile teams are process-oriented. When an agile team is put in place, each team member has a specific role and contributes something to the table.
Changing the organisation’s mindset, often rooted in the company culture, is the first step in ensuring your agile teams stay on track and succeed. The most significant shift occurs when employees are taught to embrace risk and the learning opportunities that often arise from failures.
Failure is typically viewed as intrinsically ominous in many mature organisations, making this a challenging task. While wins are necessary for a business to succeed, the speed and adaptability of an agile team make failures confident, and as a result, they must be accepted.
Consider setting up these rules and practices that specifically call out risks and learning opportunities to overcome this challenge. For example, during staff meetings, commend team members for taking a risk or hold monthly awards for teams that discover a significant learning opportunity to share with the rest of the organisation. Risk and learning opportunities will become a universal language throughout the organisation due to practices like these, and the negative stigmas associated with these areas will fade over time.
3. Opening Up Communication Channels.
Adopting an agile work environment is not something that can be done overnight. It will necessarily require a significant reorganisation of everyday activities, as well as a culture change. Furthermore, as team members adjust to their new work environment, this will inevitably cause growing pains in the organisation. To address these issues, leadership must be open about the goals and rationale for new methods.
Moreover, by establishing transparent processes and providing opportunities for employee input through surveys and Q&As, the entire organisation will have an open dialogue during this change.