Agile teams: 5 signs of trouble

Agile teams: 5 signs of trouble

That small, self-organizing team may look agile, but is it actually delivering the benefits? Consider these warning signs that a team isn’t as agile as you think

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4. The team has personality issues and/or high turnover

The agile methodology is a collaborative effort, but agile teams can face challenges from group personalities, dynamics, and location. Not every developer will be on board with agile methods, but those who are resistant to the point of being detrimental to the team will impact group performance and morale. The reasons vary between individuals, as some people prefer to work alone or have conflicting attitudes with other members.

A high turnover rate prevents the agile team from building bonds and understanding the best roles for each member.

Another challenge to enabling a truly agile team is if your organization is suffering from a high turnover rate, which prevents the team from building bonds and understanding the best roles for each member.

Finally, teams with members across different geographic locations have a physical barrier that can hamper communication. These are all factors to consider when forming an agile team.

5. Managers are not buying into agile

Implementing agile methods brings extensive changes to any organization’s structure, culture, and processes. Unfortunately, not every manager or executive will embrace the new changes, which they might view as risky or cumbersome to adjust. This can result in a clash of methodology as your agile team will be unable to properly align with managers on metrics, deadlines, value, and process.

For example, a manager might ask for a comprehensive scope, an exact budget, and a hard deadline. The team would be forced to provide a rough estimation, knowing that it would change when unexpected issues and technical debt arise during development.

Before you adopt agile teams, ensure your management team is supportive of the new system. At prooV, our departments are in sync at all levels with the implementation of short management sync sessions following the usual stand-up meetings. You can’t eliminate management from the process, so bring them on board and help them understand the changes to their role within the agile process.

[ Have skeptics? Read also: DevOps vs. middle managers: 5 tips to knock out resistance. ]

How to identify what’s holding an agile team back

Agile is an effective method when done correctly: The best starting point in identifying the flaws of your agile team is to ask for feedback. Surveys and interviews are good ways to gauge the perception of team members and management on the performance of agile methods.

Ask questions on how the team communicates, how long the meetings run, and what factors are preventing teams from being successful. If the responses match any of the five signs, then your business needs to change its methods before any team can truly call itself agile.  

[ Culture change is the hardest part of transformation. Get the eBook: Teaching an elephant to dance. ]

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