Think about a time you were part of a great team, loved what you were doing, in today’s lingo, fully engaged with an awesome employee experience.
What was happening, with you, other team members, your leader, customers, management, organisation, culture, structure and systems?
I can share some of the characteristics of one such team I worked with and over the journey I have worked with my fair share of great, indifferent and not so grand teams!
One of the great ones, was a small team, just five of us, including our team lead, who was awesome at providing us with a clear vision, autonomy and challenges, when we failed, he supported us, so we could learn and adapt for the next challenge.
The team was cross functional and diverse, we had all the skills to perform the work and deliver value in short cycles, we released every week into production, planned at the same cadence and all our work was visualised and transparent within the team and with our customers and other teams we enabled or vice-versa.
As a team we were co-located, never used email to communicate, only face 2 face discussions, very few meetings and when we did meet it had a purpose and work was done. We helped each other and had a serious amount of fun.
We worked with our main customer every day, although in a different location (same city, different building), each day there would be some collaboration with her, mostly face 2 face and as needed, just a phone call away.
Our team lead and customer worked together with us to ensure we were working on the most important things, supported us in getting the job done and we ensured we did the job right!
Loads of fun, challenges, achievements, learning and it was one of the most sustainable environments I have ever worked in as a result, in terms of wellbeing and mental health.
Pretty cool team, by all accounts in today’s lingo, a great Agile Team.
It was 1985, my first job after graduating, the Agile Manifesto for Software Development came about 16 years later in 2001…just saying!
Some of the best agile teams don’t even know it (as in speak or think in terms of Agile — which is a good thing). Stay true to your (team) purpose.
Now come back to your initial thoughts and reflect on what’s happening now? Is there a need or opportunity to change something? What can you take from successes of the past into your current team? Something different, a nudge here or there to create another great team…it’s worth it!
I have told this story before, the first time at a PMI Chapter presentation, aptly called ‘Agile Stories’ — at that time, someone pointed out that times were far simpler then and life/work is more complex now, a fair assessment, but I still think we can take our lessons from the past and apply them in our context today.