As a part of the continuous initiative function in Wipro, over the past year-and-half I have interacted extensively with teams (both client and internal) who are trying to adopt Agile. One of the first things that have always struck me during my discussions was how everyone looked at Agile differently. It was almost like the blind man trying to describe the elephant. Some called Agile a process, some called it a framework, some called it a tool – well you get the drift. What almost nobody called it was a change initiative. Because at the heart of it, that is what Agile is all about.
Agile is an initiative which requires structures to change, thinking to change, behavior to change and, above all, for people to change.
Most of the times when I say this, people tend to equate this with changing the process being followed, training teams on Agile, setting up visual boards, participating in daily stand ups, to name a few. What I always tell teams is that the change has to be adopted by first changing the mindset and behavior – across the board. And to understand the expected changes, it also becomes important to understand the Agile values and principles.
One of the major aspects of this philosophy is the concept of self-organized teams. This signifies a team consisting of motivated individuals, who can independently work towards fulfilling a common goal, have the ability to take their own decisions and collaborate for success. What this means is:
- No command and control model – So there is no manager who allocates work to people. The self-managed team will need to pull work to themselves. The team commits to the end goal and is itself responsible for meeting the same (without any follow ups).
- No hierarchies – Everybody in the team works as equals, helping each other to ensure the fulfillment of a common goal. The more senior member of the team should be able to take up complex work and guide the less-experienced colleagues.
- Ability to speak up – The team members should be able to speak up, contradict someone else’s opinion (yes, even the client’s) and be able to provide justifications for their point of view.
- Working for a common goal – Team success takes precedence over individual excellence. The team members have to collaborate, seek help from each other and support each other to ensure that they deliver what they have committed to.
- Multi-skilling – A self-organized team has to comprise members who have different skills. So a tester should be able to do basic coding, a developer should be able to contribute to the testing.
What all of the above means that individuals in an Agile project needs to display behaviors like:
- Assertive communication
- Building trust
- One-team approach
- Ensuring self and team discipline
Are you a part of an Agile team? Are you seeing some of this in practice in your teams? What do you think are the factors that inhibit you from changing yourself? Let me know your views.
,AccountabilityAgile,Collaboration,Multi skilling,Stanford University Institute of Design