Welcome!

Agile Computing Authors: Liz McMillan, Pat Romanski, Elizabeth White, Dana Gardner, Andy Thurai

Related Topics: Microservices Expo, Java IoT, Industrial IoT, Microsoft Cloud, Open Source Cloud, Agile Computing

Microservices Expo: Article

The Softer Side of Agile

Leading Collaborative Teams to Success

The Agile Manifesto places customer collaboration over contract negotiation with a keen focus on a highly skilled, motivated team in constant interaction with the product and the customer at every phase of the project. As a result of this collaborative, customer-centric view, Agile requires more than the technical expertise needed to gather requirements, and develop and test new product lines. It requires soft skills, leadership competencies and an understanding of how to apply those skills in a more malleable, people-focused setting. As practitioners know, collaboration brings a set of challenges. With the Agile approach, project managers are called upon to team up with customers in a constant stakeholder dialogue.

Constant customer collaboration provides great opportunities to measure project success by gauging the level of customer satisfaction throughout each life cycle of the project. It creates the framework for faster time-to-market and a more nimble process to deliver successful project outcomes. When it comes to successful agile project delivery, collaboration also is key for the integrated project team.

What Makes Good, Effective Collaboration?
To begin to understand, we should first take a look at the 12 principles behind the Agile Manifesto. These principles, which are the building blocks of Agile, identify three areas that lend themselves to successful collaboration. These principles are as follows:

  • Business people and developers must work together daily throughout the project.
  • Projects need to be built around motivated individuals. Give them the environment and support they need, and trust them to get the job done.
  • The most efficient and effective method of conveying information to and within a development team is face-to-face conversation.

Based on the above three principles, successful collaboration among the team relies heavily on three key factors:

  • Feedback
  • Communication
  • Motivation

Feedback
How does feedback work in a team environment? What is the most successful way to deliver it on an Agile project? Remember that feedback during the iterative development work of an Agile project must increase awareness and insight as well as foster innovation, yielding positive alternatives. Having the business as part of the core Agile project team creates the environment for continuous feedback and an opportunity to take positive risks in doing things differently, which is the very nature of why the project is being done in an Agile setting. Within the iteration work, it is essential to provide feedback that:

  • Contains a clear purpose
  • Is specific and descriptive
  • Offers positive alternatives

For all members of the Agile project team, it's important to identify what to start, stop and continue doing when it comes to iteration work. This is where effective feedback is most often used. You can easily integrate these practices into your daily stand up meetings to prepare for the day's work.

Communication
What makes effective communication? When it comes to communication, it is important to deliver information in a manner that is understood by the receiver, which means that we need to get past the receiver's filters and ensure that the individual understood the intended message. To get past those filters, we, as the sender of this message, have a responsibility to understand how our receiver takes in information. Does he communicate in a direct manner? Is she considerate in her messaging? Understanding your receiver's communication style will help you provide feedback that enables effective dialogue.

Motivation
When you combine productive feedback with effective communication, the foundation for motivation has been established. Motivation is built on encouragement, partnership and compromise without making concessions that damage trust. Working together to ensure that barriers, impediments and unrealistic expectations do not derail the creative impulses of the team brings about team unity. When the Agile PM delegates to team members the authority and responsibility to complete features to which they've committed, the Agile PM has created an environment of trust, partnership and self-directedness. By creating this environment, the team can discover their patterns of working,

The soft side of Agile is just as important as the technical side of Agile. Both sets of skills are required and dependent upon each other for success in the Agile environment. Given what you just read, ask yourself, how soft is your Agile team?

_________________________________________

© 2012 Reprinted with permission from ESI International.

More Stories By Nancy Y. Nee

Nancy Y. Nee, PMP, CBAP, CSM, Vice President, Global Product Strategy, ESI International, guides clients in the development and implementation of learning programs customized to their specific needs. Her solutions reflect the insight of almost two decades of PM and BA experience in healthcare, information technology, financial services and energy.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


IoT & Smart Cities Stories
To Really Work for Enterprises, MultiCloud Adoption Requires Far Better and Inclusive Cloud Monitoring and Cost Management … But How? Overwhelmingly, even as enterprises have adopted cloud computing and are expanding to multi-cloud computing, IT leaders remain concerned about how to monitor, manage and control costs across hybrid and multi-cloud deployments. It’s clear that traditional IT monitoring and management approaches, designed after all for on-premises data centers, are falling short in ...
We are seeing a major migration of enterprises applications to the cloud. As cloud and business use of real time applications accelerate, legacy networks are no longer able to architecturally support cloud adoption and deliver the performance and security required by highly distributed enterprises. These outdated solutions have become more costly and complicated to implement, install, manage, and maintain.SD-WAN offers unlimited capabilities for accessing the benefits of the cloud and Internet. ...
The deluge of IoT sensor data collected from connected devices and the powerful AI required to make that data actionable are giving rise to a hybrid ecosystem in which cloud, on-prem and edge processes become interweaved. Attendees will learn how emerging composable infrastructure solutions deliver the adaptive architecture needed to manage this new data reality. Machine learning algorithms can better anticipate data storms and automate resources to support surges, including fully scalable GPU-c...
The Founder of NostaLab and a member of the Google Health Advisory Board, John is a unique combination of strategic thinker, marketer and entrepreneur. His career was built on the "science of advertising" combining strategy, creativity and marketing for industry-leading results. Combined with his ability to communicate complicated scientific concepts in a way that consumers and scientists alike can appreciate, John is a sought-after speaker for conferences on the forefront of healthcare science,...
Machine learning has taken residence at our cities' cores and now we can finally have "smart cities." Cities are a collection of buildings made to provide the structure and safety necessary for people to function, create and survive. Buildings are a pool of ever-changing performance data from large automated systems such as heating and cooling to the people that live and work within them. Through machine learning, buildings can optimize performance, reduce costs, and improve occupant comfort by ...
René Bostic is the Technical VP of the IBM Cloud Unit in North America. Enjoying her career with IBM during the modern millennial technological era, she is an expert in cloud computing, DevOps and emerging cloud technologies such as Blockchain. Her strengths and core competencies include a proven record of accomplishments in consensus building at all levels to assess, plan, and implement enterprise and cloud computing solutions. René is a member of the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) and a m...
Poor data quality and analytics drive down business value. In fact, Gartner estimated that the average financial impact of poor data quality on organizations is $9.7 million per year. But bad data is much more than a cost center. By eroding trust in information, analytics and the business decisions based on these, it is a serious impediment to digital transformation.
DXWorldEXPO LLC announced today that Ed Featherston has been named the "Tech Chair" of "FinTechEXPO - New York Blockchain Event" of CloudEXPO's 10-Year Anniversary Event which will take place on November 12-13, 2018 in New York City. CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO New York will present keynotes, general sessions, and more than 20 blockchain sessions by leading FinTech experts.
Apps and devices shouldn't stop working when there's limited or no network connectivity. Learn how to bring data stored in a cloud database to the edge of the network (and back again) whenever an Internet connection is available. In his session at 17th Cloud Expo, Ben Perlmutter, a Sales Engineer with IBM Cloudant, demonstrated techniques for replicating cloud databases with devices in order to build offline-first mobile or Internet of Things (IoT) apps that can provide a better, faster user e...
Bill Schmarzo, Tech Chair of "Big Data | Analytics" of upcoming CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO New York (November 12-13, 2018, New York City) today announced the outline and schedule of the track. "The track has been designed in experience/degree order," said Schmarzo. "So, that folks who attend the entire track can leave the conference with some of the skills necessary to get their work done when they get back to their offices. It actually ties back to some work that I'm doing at the University of ...