How an Agile Manager Helps Grow a Team
As an Agile manager, it’s your responsibility to not only guide your team in achieving goals and delivering high-quality products, but also to help them develop the skills and mindset necessary for self-management and effective team dynamics. Here we’re going to show you how an Agile Manager Helps Grow a Team. We’ll get specific with a few ways you can help your team become better at self-management, improve team dynamics, and grow their product development skills.
One of the core principles of Scrum, and Agile development in general, is self-management. It’s essential for team members to take ownership of their work and be accountable for delivering results. As a manager, you can help your team develop self-management skills by providing them with clear goals and expectations and holding them accountable for meeting them. Additionally, you can also provide opportunities for team members to take on leadership roles within the team, such as leading a project or facilitating a team meeting. This helps to build their confidence and leadership skills and encourages them to take ownership of their work. Here are a few ways an effective Agile manager can help their team improve their self-management skills.
Set clear goals and expectations
The first step in helping your team improve their self-management skills is to provide them with clear context around business goals and expectations so that the team can create appropriate Product Goals and Sprint Goals. Solid goals help the team understand what they are working towards and provide them with a sense of purpose and direction. Additionally, it’s important to regularly review and adjust goals as needed, to ensure that they are still relevant and achievable. You see the mechanisms baked into The Daily Scrum, Sprint Reviews and Sprint Retrospectives.
An effective Agile manager encourages autonomy among their team members. This means giving team members the freedom to make decisions about their work, and to take ownership of their tasks and projects. This helps to build their confidence and leadership skills and encourages them to take responsibility for their work. However, it’s also important to hold teams accountable for the results of the decisions they make. “With great power comes great responsibility.”
Provide opportunities for growth
One of the ways to improve self-management skills is to improve the team’s confidence in taking on important work and making decisions autonomously. Provide opportunities for growth and development to sharpen skills. Help guide the team in ways to grow in which they’re passionate about growing e.g. better technical skills, quality practices, design techniques, etc… As a manager, you can do this by providing training, coaching, and mentoring on the latest tools, practices, concepts, and technologies. You can also provide opportunities for team members to work on projects outside of their comfort zone, which helps to build their skills, confidence, and experience.
An effective Agile manager plays a critical role in helping their team improve their dynamics. Team dynamics refer to the way team members interact and work together, and it’s essential for the success of any Scrum or Agile development team. Here are a few ways an effective Agile manager can help improve team dynamics.
Foster a culture of collaboration
One of the most important ways to improve team dynamics is to foster a culture of collaboration. Encourage team members to share their thoughts and ideas and provide opportunities for them to work together on projects. Additionally, you can also facilitate team-building activities, such as team lunches or off-site retreats, which help to build trust and improve team cohesion. A silly team project that has nothing to do with work might be an easy way to build teams, encourage healthy debates and discussion, and put smiles on the faces of people who need to work effectively together for a long period of time.
Encourage open communication
Open communication is key to effective team dynamics. An effective Agile manager fosters an environment where team members feel comfortable sharing their thoughts and ideas, and where there is a clear and open flow of information. This is no easy feat. Teams need to learn how to debate, argue, and challenge one another to find the best ideas among them. For some this comes easy, for others they may need coaching on engaging in conflict without causing harm to the other party. Getting open communication to work well helps to build trust and understanding between team members, which in turn leads to better collaboration and more effective problem-solving.
Promote diversity and inclusion
Another important aspect of effective team dynamics is promoting diversity and inclusion. Encourage team members to bring their unique perspectives and experiences to the table, and make sure that everyone feels valued and respected. Again, easier said than done. This can take intentional care and focus to get working well. But done right, an environment of diversity and inclusion will help to create a team that is more innovative and more effective at problem-solving because all ideas are respected, considered, and evaluated on their merits.
Product Development Skills
An effective agile manager can play a critical role in helping a team improve their product development skills. Scrum, and agile product development in general, emphasizes flexibility, risk mitigation, frequent delivery of value, and continuous improvement. This sort of focus on product development requires a different approach to managing people and teams than traditional methods. Let’s look at some ways an agile manager can help improve product development skills.
Clear vision and purpose
First, an effective agile manager should ensure a clear vision for success has been established for the team. Any product vision should be aligned with the company’s overall goals and should be communicated clearly to the team. The team should understand how their work contributes to the company’s success and how it aligns with the company’s mission and values. Getting this right will ensure the work that is done solves valuable problems with minimal wasted efforts.
An effective agile manager should provide the team with the necessary resources and tools to succeed. This includes access to training, mentoring, and other development opportunities. Additionally, the team should have the right tools and technology to do their jobs effectively. Remember to look at the entire system, a $1000/month piece of software might sound expensive at first glance, but if this tool can save 100 hours of development labor, then it’s usually a no-brainer expense.
Lead by Example
Finally, as a manager, it’s important to lead by example. Demonstrate the behavior and attitudes that you expect from your team members, and consistently model the values and principles of Agile. This helps to create a culture of respect and accountability, which is essential for building a high-performing team.
As an Agile manager, it is your responsibility to guide your team not only in achieving goals and delivering high-quality products, but also in developing the skills and mindset for self-management, improved team dynamics, and more skilled product development. You can do this by setting clear goals and expectations, promoting a culture of collaboration and open communication, providing training and coaching, and leading by example. If you manage a newly formed Scrum or Agile delivery team, consider attending one of our Professional Agile Leadership Essentials courses to enhance your skills and move towards empirical management instead of predictive management.