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Agile Teams and the benefits of self-organizing


A key component of successfully implementing Agile in your business is the ability of your project teams to self-organize. There is a common misconception that this means individual team members will be loose cannons, operating without direction and without taking ownership for their work. However, in actual fact the individuals in self-organized teams work collaboratively together under a framework of rules and expectations, agreed by the whole group and which must be adhered to, towards achieving each sprint or iteration goal. So what are the key identifying factors of self-organizing teams? Collaboration

All team members work together towards achieving their goal, after all, there is no I in team! Competency

Each individual should be competent within their role, which removes the need for direction and gives them confidence in their work and their ability to do it well. Continuity

Ideally the make-up of the team should remain as consistent and continuous for as long as possible. Changes can cause an imbalance in the development process which means it will take longer for the team to regain equilibrium and work at maximum velocity and efficiency. Motivation

Taking ownership of their project should add to their focus and motivation, and all team members should pull together to ensure motivation levels stay strong. Respect & Mutual Trust

It is vitally important to respect one another's ideas, opinions and work in order to push forward as a team and conquer any hurdles that occur. We now know what is needed to create self-organizing teams, but what are some of the benefits for your Agile software development project? One of the biggest benefits is that self-organizing teams don't require micro-management. This saves a lot of downtime as rather than waiting to be told what to do at each step, the team members can proactively complete tasks. This frees up management and ensures the team keeps moving forward at a steady pace. Studies have shown that this gives members a stronger personal connection to their work, boosting commitment and providing increased motivation to complete their tasks to the very best of their ability. Prioritizing and managing their own work necessitates increased communication with one another, allowing for the free flow of ideas and continued analysis and change, not just of the processes for the software development, but also of the functionality of the team. Reviewing what works, what doesn't work and how you are going to make effective changes will help with the continuous improvement of the team as a whole. Self-organized teams aren't afraid to raise questions or concerns, which also helps them to problem solve more efficiently. In a diverse team, members may have individual cognitive strategies to combat problems. However, when you consider the whole team this becomes a much larger pool of problem-solving strategies to choose from. This makes the team considerably more likely to be able to resolve the issue and at a faster pace, particularly if multiple strategies can be tried at once. Understanding what the principles, components and benefits of a self-organized team is important, but the biggest challenge by far is putting the team together in the first place, and that is where we come in. Self organized teams need coaching from an expert outside of the business who can assess team strengths, weaknesses and opportunities for change with an unbiased eye. Our coaches identify if a team has self-organized in a way that impedes it in some way, and it is then our responsibility to effect change so that the team automatically reorganizes itself and hopefully in a more productive way! For example by suggesting the introduction of a team member who may stand up to a dominant and overbearing personality or the removal of an individual who is unable to embrace the rules and expectations set by the team. By applying the Agile principles of subtle control and indirect influence, we are able to illuminate the path to Agility and success, and smooth any bumps in the journey. A self-organized team can deliver twice the results in half the time, let us show you how. Businesses that value Agile coaching achieve results. Start your journey today by getting in touch for your free no-obligation consultation. We cant wait to work with you. It is not a bolt to be tightened into place but a seed to be planted and to bear more seed toward the hope of greening the landscape of idea. John Ciardi

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