Teams are to agile as the atom is to classic physics. In our article, “Simple Checklist: Are They A Team?”, we began exploring what makes a bunch of people into a team by establishing seven basic questions that need to be asked about behavior and organization. Once we have established that a group of people are a team, it is important to establish what predicts whether a team will be a good team. In order to avoid my cognitive biases, I asked 10 Scrum Masters, managers of Scrum Masters, successful entrepreneurs and Released Train Engineers; that is, people that are highly skilled at working with teams. Four categories of attributes that emerged (in descending order) are:
- Members actively support each other so the team succeeds as a whole.
Kyle Alexander Siemens, CEO of Brightest, boiled his feedback down to “supporting each other.” When I train agile concepts, I often talk about swarming to a problem or volunteering to help during a Daily Scrum. The success of the team has to be paramount.
- Teams actively interact and communicate.
Communication could have been the most important category. Without good communication team members wouldn’t easily know that a person or a work item is in trouble. Steve Tendon, co-author of Tame Your Workflow and consultant, stated that team members had to have the “courage to openly articulate their own individual deep self-interest(s).”
- The team has a common goal.
I will return to this topic in the near future to explore the great comments Robert Day made on the Simple Checklist essay. That said, the practitioners I asked for comments suggested that a common goal was a predictor of a good team. Mellisa Greller, Hyland Software, stated “team purpose over individual agenda” was a strong predictor.
- The system
The system, how work is organized, is the largest single contributor to overall performance, therefore a good system to work within is a predictor of a good team. I do not know how many times I have seen what should have been great teams fail because the system (process and culture) colluded to keep them from being great. Daniel Dorion, co-author of Tame your Workflow and consultant stated “Deming says that a poor system will be a single person anytime. Now Imagine a team with a good system.”
If we understand the attributes that predict a good team the question becomes whether we as coaches or leaders can influence those attributes. Also, in our pandemic world, are these attributes possible for a distributed team?
We will seek to answer those questions and return to Robert Day’s comments about a common goal (they are a great read — read them and weigh in).
Title: Teams are to agile as the atom is to classic physics!
Sourced From: tcagley.wordpress.com/2020/03/12/teams-are-to-agile-as-the-atom-is-to-classic-physics/
Published Date: Thu, 12 Mar 2020 23:55:26 +0000