Creating the Agile Team
If you would like to enhance your Agile Team’s performance then run a Team Discovery Day (TDD). This is no ordinary day. This is a day for learning how to collaborate and how to trust one another for peak performance that is sustainable. If you are a scrum master, a project manager or a leader of a kinetic team, then this should be seriously considered.
Team Discovery Day (TDD) is great for a team that has just come together or a team that is in the early phase of the storming stage where conflict hasn’t yet developed into gang warfare. The entire point of a Team Discovery Day is to create a high-performance team that can collaborate in a way that makes them flexible and adaptable to meet strategic goals and business objectives. Flexibility and adaptability create Agility. This Team Discovery Day assists individuals not only understand themselves but also understand one another as they aim to reach their team goals. If a team remains in the forming stage or storming stage then they can never reach their true potential as a team. Storming results in poor quality, rework, demotivation and poor performance. The Team Discovery Day addresses the ability to work together as a unit, to resolve issues as a unit, to work through stressful situations as a unit, to continuously improve as a unit and to create a cohesive unit that will look out for one other. To be a team requires absolute trust, mindfulness and focus to accomplish the goal. In a nutshell Team Discovery Day helps a team understand what contributes to a high-performance team, how they can utilise the different individual strengths and talents within the team and how they can move to the next level of the Tuckman Model. This entire process fosters relationships.
The Team Discovery Day is only one day and will not be appropriate for a team in distress. A team in distress will require two days to address the causes of distress in a holistic and meaningful way. It would be more appropriate to run a Team Performance Programme for a team in distress as there is more time to look at causes and to work on solutions for the way forward. The Team Performance Programme helps the team provide insightful feedback that will help work through the conflict, work with the strengths from within the team, understand their team’s development needs and come up with strategies for better collaboration and trust building. The team leader will play a significant role in this process.
The Tuckman Model represents the stages that a team moves through. For example, in the storming stage the team is aware of what needs to be done as well as the roles and responsibilities however, there can be many different approaches to meeting those goals. In an Agile team, diversity is needed for problem solving. In organisations with holistic messes, team diversity is needed for innovation. Conflict is a natural symptom of diversity. If not dealt with and understood by each other, then factions between the team can exist as people side with one another. Conflict also arises as the team members feel more comfortable with one another therefore, openly reflecting their differing opinions. This conflict results in a lack of agreement, a lack of decision making, a lack of trust, a lack of collaboration. This is where individual character impacts a team.
Working with various teams of many decades I have witnessed more storming then performing. I am of the opinion, that by the time conflict is visible, the team have been storming for a while. High-performance can never be achieved by a team that is stuck in the storming stage.
There are three streams within the Tuckman Model that always need to be considered – the individual, the leader and the team.
Every team is made up of individuals who are highly complex human beings each with their own character, competence and development needs. We want to trigger positive aspects so we can have many great days.
The other stream in the Tuckman model is the team leader. Not only is he or she an individual but also a leader. This person’s leadership style and therefore character has major influence on the third stream – the team (we). The best team leaders are those who are situational leaders or servant leaders. Leaders who can adapt their style from directive, to coaching, to participatory as the team works through the Tuckman stages. Servant leaders create the environment, allowing the team to be self-organised, self-directed and self-motivated. Currently there are 5 generations of work force in an organisation and therefore, the old command and control management style, is no longer viable for Agility.
The third stream looks at the team (we). The team must be able to provide each other with effective feedback which requires great listening skills, self-control, self-awareness and empathy. If team members provide effective feedback, then they can establish sources of problems and collaboratively conduct problem solving. This results in confidence and resilience which provides fortitude during stressful times.
The buzz word today is Agile. Agile can be one of many ways to implement strategy. Whichever way you choose to implement strategy, it’s the team that will take you to the next level.