If you’ve been lucky enough to work in a high functioning agile team as I have, then you know what a great feeling it is. It makes you feel like you’re part of something special, that your opinion matters and your contribution is valued. It’s more like a family than just a team, a team that you are invested in, a team that you don’t want to let down.
While there are countless articles about how to develop or coach teams to become more productive from a leadership perspective, the truth about high performing teams is that we all have a role to play in creating them.
A team is a group of individuals who work together to achieve a common goal, so at an individual level, we all have the ability to shape and influence our team through our actions or inactions. This is even more so when working in an Agile Delivery team, as Agile is based on the principle of self-organizing teams.
Having worked in many Agile Delivery teams over the last few years, I am not about to tell you that it’s easy because I know first-hand how difficult it can be, especially when the team is distributed. With that said, there are a few simple things that you can do to get the most out of working in an Agile Delivery team (or any team for that matter) and improve how you feel about working in your team and your work itself, these are:
1. Make an effort to grab a coffee or ‘virtual’ coffee with your team members; it’s important that you make the time to talk with your teammates one-on-one to get to know them on a personal level. Perhaps you could try and have a short conversation with a different teammate at the start of each day.
2. Don’t just rely on Email; email is still one of the most widely used methods of communication within teams, don’t only rely on email to interact with your teammates. While email communication has its benefits, next time you need to reach out to your colleagues try using your Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) tools, Instant Messenger (IM), Voice or Video Call or face-to-face if you’re in the same location.
3. Earn the trust of your teammates by being reliable; trust is the cornerstone of any relationship. The key to building trust is being reliable, setting expectations, keeping commitments and communicating the status of activities. If you say I’ll get back to you at the end of the day, then do it or at least let the person know the reason that you couldn’t do it and when you plan to do it.
4. Get more out of meetings by being engaged; many businesses and projects alike suffer from the ‘let’s have a meeting about it’ syndrome and while it may be challenging for us as individuals to change, we can get more out of meetings by being more engaged. So, familiarise yourself with the agenda/discussion topics ahead of time, list bullet points of items you would like to cover and socialise them ahead of time, stay focused, engaged and contribute to discussions.
5. Be on the lookout for better ways that your team can collaborate; become a champion of the tools and processes that your team uses and look for ways to improve collaboration, whether it’s using a new tool, using an existing tool more effectively or changing the format of a meeting to include social conversation, get involved in improving the way your team works.
When we are connected with our teammates, we are more productive, engaged in achieving goals and work with a greater sense of purpose making us happier overall. Seeing as a lot of us will spend a large portion of our lives at work it is important that we are invested and enthusiastic about creating a positive team environment, after all, we are the creators of our reality.
I am sure that are many other ways that you can be part of your Agile Delivery team, but these are the one that has work for me.