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Agile teams

Why And How To Build Agile Teams?

Teams don’t shy away from talking about their perpetual need for flexibility. But, after discussions, the situation remains pretty much the same! Agility is the need of the hour in a fast-paced corporate scenario where opportunities can slip by in a matter of seconds. Agile teams, working methods, and team members who function on the agile methodology are becoming the new definition of success.

In this blog post, we will understand what agile teams look like. After highlighting the key characteristics of agile teams, we will also see how managers can build an agile team in their organization.

What are agile teams?

An agile team emphasizes flexibility. But, agile teams do not limit themselves to becoming flexible. They become responsive to market changes and concentrate on making constant improvements. More than merely making them adaptable, the agile mindset makes teams aware of the changes around them and makes them formulate reactions to them.

Such behavior is increasingly in demand due to rapid advancements in the market and technology, which make it harder for companies to stay competitive if they become stagnant.

By adopting this approach, companies can become more answerable to their stakeholders and gain more equity. Teams that follow the agile methods can anticipate and overcome challenges effectively. As a result, they are more efficient than their counterparts who stick to traditional routines.

Agile teams are formed on the agile methodology. The agile method was initially referred to as a problem-solving approach used extensively in software development. It focuses on repeated testing and improvement in the system. It worked heavily based on feedback loops. The agile methodology focuses on a mix of practices that help teams become responsive to uncertainties that are part of daily changes.

Now that we understand the idea behind an agile team, let us know what an agile team looks like:

What are the characteristics of an agile team?

Flexibility

An agile team must be flexible for the team to work smoothly together. The team members need to be able to adapt quickly and change their plans as required for the team to remain successful. This flexibility is a vital part of the agile methodology. It helps teams become responsive not just to changes within their project but also changes that relate to other projects within the company or outside its scope.

A collaborative approach

A collaborative approach is also another critical characteristic of an agile team. Members of the team need to work together collaboratively for the team to be successful. Members must share their ideas and plans and work together to make everything happen. Instead of focusing too much on processes like in a traditional bureaucratic approach to management, agile teams focus on the people and listen to them.

Active change management

To be successful, agile teams need to be able to manage change effectively. This means the team needs a system to ensure that changes are made correctly and continuously throughout the project. Change management is an integral part of agile methodology, as it ensures that all team members are aware of upcoming changes and understand how they will affect their work. They offer little resistance to change as the plans are malleable and changes are reasonable.

Working feedback loops

A crucial part of agile methodology is the working feedback loop. Their emphasis on constantly improving by making changes hinges on active feedback loops. Team members are continually providing feedback to each other to help them improve their work. Feedback can come in verbal or written comments, allowing team members to learn from their mistakes and continue moving forward. By using feedback loops, the team can make better decisions based on the latest information.

Enthusiastic teams

A final key component of agile teams is their ability to be enthusiastic and productive. Team members must have an overall passion for the project to stay motivated and focused. They also need to be willing to embrace change and take on new challenges. They take ownership of their tasks and focus on delivering on time so their team can achieve deadlines. The team isn’t afraid of making mistakes; instead, they see them as part of the learning process. As a result, agile teams can deliver high-quality work and constantly improve.

What are the benefits of building an agile team?

An agile team is more efficient and effective because it is adaptable and responsive to changing conditions. It is better equipped to meet the challenges of today’s complex projects. Additionally, agile teams use feedback loops to improve their work processes continually. This makes them faster, cheaper, and easier to change, which is why it is the best approach for today’s development projects. The key benefits of building agile teams are:

  • Agile teams can increase efficiency by being flexible through creative approaches instead of focusing on hard-and-fast rules.
  • The employees are motivated as they get complete ownership of work. Support from managers and leaders lets them take risks and present innovative ideas.
  • The team performs better because they stay in touch with the changes in the market and their competitors. Thus, their clients or customers are satisfied with the latest solutions.
  • The flexible approach helps in increasing employee satisfaction.

How can managers build an agile team?

While agile teams sound like a great idea, building them is chaos. As you make an agile team, you must be prepared for the numerous and rapid changes that are about to come head-on. A stable foundation is necessary to bear all of it smartly. Further, a manager can take the following steps to build an agile team –

Get a growth mindset

The first step in switching to an agile team is to develop a growth mindset. A growth mindset helps you become a results-oriented leader and enable you to shift from a traditional perspective that makes organizations stagnate. A growth mindset is needed for agile team building because it believes that everyone can improve and grow constantly. It allows team members to focus on their personal development and approach challenges with an optimistic outlook. Ideas like this are vital in adopting the agile methodology with their team and unlock unlimited potential in everyone.

Redefine your priorities

Once you have a growth mindset and understand the importance of agility, your next step is to redefine your priorities. The traditional teambuilding approach focuses on structural changes like adding new members or moving people around to optimize performance. This might work for some time, but eventually, it will lead to stagnation. Agility requires that leaders steer their team toward results by focusing on what’s essential and eliminating distractions.

Defining the team’s objectives, values, and mission should be at the top of this list so they can continuously improve themselves while meeting customer needs. Moreover, the focus needs to shift from the processes to the people who carry them out. Paying attention to the people will help managers administer changes and get support.

Go slow with the move

When team members start working agile, they often approach change in a way that goes too fast. It can lead to chaos and confusion as people try to figure out what’s required of them. Leaders need to give team members the guidance they need at first so everyone can become familiar with the new way of working. There’s no point in rushing things if it means team members don’t understand what they should be doing or feel like their work is pointless.

Hence, initially, while adopting this approach, you will need to start slow and provide guidance to your team members until they are prepared to hold on their own.

Build autonomy

Agile teams are self-sufficient and rely on team members to get the job done. Leaders need to build team member autonomy to take responsibility for their work. It doesn’t mean giving team members complete freedom but rather giving them the resources and support they need to be successful. Leaders shouldn’t micromanage team members or tell them what to do all the time; this will only lead to frustration and disagreement. Instead, provide feedback that encourages team member growth while maintaining a sense of control over the overall project. This step goes after you have provided them sufficient help settling down in their new roles.

Help in adapting to the changes

Team members should be offered assistance in adapting to the agile way of working. Leaders should provide team member training that covers the basics of agile development and how it can help them work more productively. It will help team members understand what’s expected of them and give them a head start on making the transition to agile work well for their team.

Taking feedback and opinions is important during this time to ensure that the team is on the same page as you. Otherwise, there can be chaos.

Change from traditional methods for everything

It’s also essential to change how team members approach their work. Traditionally, teams would develop a plan, execute it and then retrospectively analyze results. Agile development entails constantly moving forward and adapting to changes in the product or project. Team members need to be agile too-they need to be able to rapidly adapt their skills and approach when required for the team to accomplish its goals. Leaders should help team members become more agile by providing training on using new tools, processes, or techniques when introducing the project or product. Similarly, managers and leaders need to change the methods for providing motivation, recognition, and rewards to their team members.

Conclusion

As the world moves towards a faster-paced and more innovative economy, it is more important than ever to have agile teams at your disposal. You can achieve great results by understanding the basics of agile team building and implementing it into your team’s workflow. The benefits of agile team building are clear – better communication, team cooperation, and productivity. So, if you’re looking to improve your team’s performance, start by building an agile team!

Download the free growth mindset toolkit to keep your team striving toward success.

Use the free growth mindset toolkit for managers to continue developing and improving your skills and abilities.

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