Agile is about empowering teams to take ownership, feel truly engaged, and foster a culture of collaboration. More than ever, teams are required to deliver with greater adaptability, speed, and engagement. The future is more ambiguous and complex, and Agile teams must know how best to respond to these changing conditions.
Agile experts John Walpole, Dean MacNeil, and Nick Muldoon share their success formula behind the high-functioning Agile teams at Lyft, Valiantys, and Easy Agile. You will learn:
- How to create a compelling 'why' that the whole team can get behind
- How to empower your teams
- The qualities of high-performing Agile teams
Create a compelling 'why' that the whole team can get behind
I think Agile is not a silver bullet. We have people who look at Agile and say, "Oh, well, this is going to solve all of our woes." And it's not; it's certainly not a turnkey thing.
Agile is not a silver bullet. It is not a methodology that will solve leaders, teams and individuals' problems. Agile is a continuous improvement journey of "adaptability in evolutionary theory; it's about responding to either a new environment or changes in your environment to again, not just survive but to thrive," said Dean.
Set your Agile teams up for success by teaching them to thrive by empowering them to lead change, make mistakes, build a solid foundation, and be open to learning, changing, and communicating the meaningful 'why' behind their work. You will see an explosion in Agile team success when you have a "cohesive team aligned to a common mission with a growth mindset."
Motivate your Agile teams by connecting their work with a meaningful 'why.' Schedule a meeting to ensure you constantly discuss their work's more profound purpose. Bring up a real-life customer example. John shared, "At Lyft, we share stories in a fortnightly meeting. We offer free accessible rides to those in wheelchairs or those who struggle to pay for a ride but need access to transportation to get to work or school.
"Bring your personas to life with these real-life examples, so it's front and center in your employee's minds," said John.
Empowering your teams
Culture eats strategy for breakfast
Your employees need to lead the change. "If you look at great leaders in recent Agile transformations, you might want to look at a company like Porsche," said Dean. Dean shares how Porsche has inspired Valiantys because "every employee at Porsche is leading the change. So they're all bought into it; they all have that sense of leadership to drive it.". Porsche's employees are leading the change because their leadership communicates the 'why' well. "Fun is number one when their CIO lists off the top three reasons 'why' everyone is so fired up about the Agile transformation. Because you can have fun on the job, your job is not supposed to be a grim duty. It's supposed to be something you look forward to."
"Empower your teams to make mistakes," said John.
Empower your Agile teams to fail and make mistakes through powerful questions. Leaders have to change their tone from "oh no, who do I fire?" to "what's the challenge? What can I do to help?". Express to your team that you're on a journey to learn as much as they are. In doing so, the leader humanizes themselves and becomes more vulnerable.
Leadership sets the tone. As a company scales, the responsibility to create the culture and the risk appetite falls more on leadership.
Qualities of high-performing, Agile teams
1. Create a solid foundation
Set your Agile team up for success with a stable team unit. Don't keep moving teams around; create long-term Agile teams to allow individuals to get to know each other and humanize one another. "I think stability is key to having the tacit knowledge keeping together and this open mindset where they're willing to learn; I love that," said Nick.
2. Open to learning and adapting
For Agile teams to continuously improve, they must constantly be learning and adapting. "You can't get that learning and adaptation if you keep just stirring the pot. Because you're going to keep scattering that knowledge, you want to take hold, and then, of course, you want to spread the knowledge to the organization then," said Dean.
3. Share feedback and do the retrospective
Ensure your Agile teams are demonstrating working product on a regular occurrence. If you're practicing Scrum, make sure you are doing the weekly sprint review. This allows the team to receive feedback from stakeholders and keep iterating and moving forward, ensuring they stay in movement. "Do your retrospective," said Dean." We're looking at what we delivered, and now we're going to look at how we delivered it." It is imperative that Scrum teams gather at the end of each sprint to discuss what went well, what didn’t go so well, and what can be improved on for next time. Otherwise, you invite complacency and stagnation into your Scrum process — the antithesis of Agile.
Using Easy Agile to set your Agile teams up for success
Easy Agile TeamRhythm supports your team's Agile practices in Jira. The user story map format in TeamRhythm transforms your flat product maps into a dynamic and flexible visual representation of work. Watch the highlights tour to see how Easy Agile TeamRhythm makes sprint planning, managing your backlog, and team retrospectives easier. Visit Atlassian Marketplace to start your free, 30-day trial today.