Ever wondered what are the ingredients of a successful Agile Team? Yes, there are some attributes which are common across high performing teams. Let’s look at them in this post.
#1 Committed Team
This forms the base of Agile Success Pyramid. A committed team is essential for any project success. It is largely the responsibility of a Project Leader or Manager to build such a team.
It is not an easy task. There are always non-believers and pessimists in the team, who think that no improvements would work. It takes courage and patience to make them committed to the team objectives. Here are some tips:
- Motivate the team. Help them visualize the end result of any change and the happiness it brings
- Respect their opinion. If their opinions are respected and listened to, it is possible that they will listen to you
- Demonstrate your commitment. Turn up to meetings on time, display energy, use positive words – in short display your commitment!
#2 Good Coding Practices
The second factor which differentiate a mediocre agile team from an excellent one, is their good coding practices.
Coding refers not only to the source code but also to everything that happen around it – design, test cases and documentation. Create a conducive environment where such good practices can flourish.
- Encourage Test Driven Development. It is a strategy where tests are written before the code, so the functionality is tested as soon as it is built
- Conduct Design and Code Walk-through. This promote the practice of collective code ownership and share good practices across the team
- Do Pair Programming. I like to call this as “on the job” code review! Code is reviewed as it is written and it takes only minutes to implement the comments. This also helps in sharing better practices with peers
#3 Flexible Discipline
As any Agile practitioner would tell you, there are no “strict” roles in an agile team. But this doesn’t mean, there are no roles. Various roles are present as needed by the project and appropriate responsibilities are identified. Being a versatile team, a role can be played be any individual depending on availability.
Flexible discipline means that everyone understand and agree to the responsibility of a particular role but be flexible as to who plays it.
- Create Ground Rules. Ground rules are important to set the expectations. This is not a rule book but a reference guideline!
- Encourage role switching. This prevent boredom from setting into the team
- Enforce Discipline. Don’t hesitate to enforce discipline when it impact others in the team. This is a form of demonstrating respect to everyone else
#4 Powerful Information Radiators
An efficient agile team is surrounded by “powerful” information radiators.
Information radiators are those which give key information about the project, that is up to date and relevant. A “Powerful” information radiator must make sure that all essential and important information are available.An efficient agile team is surrounded by powerful information radiators Click To Tweet
It can be physical or virtual (on the software tool), but the team must have access to one all the time. Here are some example of information radiators:
- Burn down and Burn up Charts
- Task boards
- Risk Burndown Charts
- Team Dashboards
#5 Good Backlog
Last but not the least is the availability of a Good Backlog. Focus can do wonders and the team must have one backlog that they can focus on.
Here are the characteristics of a good backlog:
- Complete Backlog. It must contain upcoming work items, bugs, support requests and all other work items that require the team attention
- Reasonably Elaborated. Product Owner or the Business Analyst must ensure that the items in the backlog are incrementally elaborated – high priority items first followed by the low priority ones
- Appropriately Prioritized. The backlog must be constantly prioritized and the next work package is very clear for the team
- Estimated by the Team. Periodic discussion and estimation must be made for the backlog items
Here are some common attributes of good agile teams
- Commitment to project objectives
- Good coding practices
- Flexible discipline
- Presence of powerful information radiators
- Availability of a good backlog
What are the attributes that make your agile team great? We love to hear from you.