As any project manager would tell you, having a great team is one of the key factors in project success. They will help you face the challenges, look for solutions and deliver a result that you are looking for. Agile teams are no exception and can either help you to achieve goals or be a destructive force for the whole project. So how do you form an Agile team that will bring the success you are looking for?
The most important thing you have to understand is that the traditional teams and Agile teams are two quite different things. Simply slapping new titles on the old team does not an Agile team make. The key difference between a traditional and an Agile team is that the latter has to be completely self-sufficient. In other words, it has to be diverse and independent enough to produce a working, tested increment of a product. To make sure your new Agile team can do that, there are a few things you should be aware of.
While for the traditional teams it might be perfectly fine to have five designers and no developers, this will be nowhere near okay for Agile. By definition itself, Agile teams have to be diverse enough to produce a working part of the product. This means that an Agile team has to be made of just the people that are needed to do that.
The product in this case does not necessarily mean a whole product, it could be a part of it or even just a function, and it is simply the part of the project that that team is working on. So instead of assigning old teams to the new Agile process, you should look at the structure and figure out if they have all the capabilities they will need to achieve their goals.
Talking about the structure of the teams, another important factor to look at is dependencies. Coming from a traditional way of project management you may be used to teams relying on one another in order to complete a product. And when forming Agile teams, it can be tempting to keep these dependencies in place. However, if you want to have truly Agile teams, you will have to break them at one point or another.
Dependencies will create unnecessary lags and interruptions in the process and will not allow your new teams to perform. Instead of an Agile process you will be stuck waiting and behind schedule. Therefore understanding and breaking the dependencies between your teams is another thing you should be striving for.
Lastly, as within any team, communication is key. The thing to note about Agile is that communication is greatly increased through a variety of meetings. Many teams may be reluctant to see the value of this, as most of us dread those unproductive time wasting meet ups where nothing is decided. But in the case of Agile, the meetings are actually there to help your team.
They are designed to open up the lines of communication between the team, the management and the stakeholders, allowing all of these parties to understand each other as well as an opportunity to grow and improve. Make these meetings meaningful and see your team sore to the new heights.
It is important to understand that Agile team is not just another team and you will have to put in some work to make sure you have the right one. However, if you do, you will be reaping the rewards of a better and a quicker process soon.