Agile Transformation and High-Performance Teams

In the era for transformations, every organization is undergoing Agile Transformation, seeking agile teams would be delivering pre-measured outcome as per customer needs and per timelines committed by business teams. Whereas the fact is that with just agile adoption does not guarantee teams would become high-performance teams delivering values as per the business needs.

Before moving ahead and towards agile Transformation let’s understand what is AGILE, it is “ability to move quickly and easily. In software development, it can be targeted to produce working, quality software, in short, fast increments also known as continuous delivery. This often requires that teams are able to accept and implement fast changing requirements/needs.

Agile is a set of principles and values listed formally in the Agile Manifesto, established in 2001.

The four main values are:

  1. Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
  2. Working software over comprehensive documentation
  3. Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
  4. Responding to change over following a plan

People Process

Agile Transformation Definition

It is as an act of transforming an organization’s form where they agree to be flexible, collaborative, fast-changing environments. Agile Manifesto values and principles need to be applied throughout the organization and not just to development teams. It needs a change of organization mindset and everyone in the organization need to value core principles of Agile in order to benefit from the rewards of achieving true, healthy agility. Most organizations recognize the benefits of agile but aren’t sure how to create or encourage Agile “behaviour” or when to introduce frameworks and practices.

Case Studies has listed a few reasons which obstruct teams to becoming high-performance teams even though after adopting agile.

  1. Alignment towards common objective and goals, due to the absence of shared belief and not understanding each team member role.
  2. Adopting new tools and practices without training teams on the same.
  3. Not adopting new testing practices and lagging behind in incorporating automation testing.
  4. Creating good User stories from Epics/Features covering all acceptance criteria while backlog refinement.
  5. Cultural transformation – Require to identifying and resolving dependencies prior to committing the work for iteration.
  6. Adopting a disciplined culture where team understands the meaning of commitment and need for collaboration in various scrum events.
  7. The encouraging atmosphere needs to be available for the teams where they should be allowed to experiment and fail without any fear from leadership.

Key to becoming High-performance teams:

Agile Team

This is quite close to what most Agile teams experience. But the reality is, the Agile transformation does not ever happen overnight.

It has a list of requisites and the most important ones are listed below-

  1. Leadership meets: Team should be meeting with leadership for understanding business needs and clarifying the objectives to align towards a common Goal.
  2. Product Demo and COP: By keeping regular system/product demos and forming a community of practices it makes organizational knowledge grows much quicker than if each team attempts to learn everything on its own. Also, sharing experiences frequently also build trust in the relationship between teams and increase effective collaboration.
  3. Adopting XP practices in teams: Team needs to indulge in incorporating industry-proven approach towards development including TDD, DBB and ATDD approach.
    • TDD is a development practice in which low-level unit tests are used to drive successful software implementation.
    • BDD and ATDD (acceptance test-driven development) are similar practices for specifying expected software behavior for stories and use cases using tests.

Above listed approaches allow the business, testers, and developers to collaborate on understanding the requirements and properly building and testing the right functionality embracing the quality of product delivered and reducing the rework done by the teams.

  1. Creation of good User stories with appropriate Acceptance criteria: Team needs to break Epics or features into User stories and acceptance criteria are being discussed in grooming event involving Development Team and Business (PO + Dev + QA).
  2. The team must exhibit the behavioural aspects of the discipline, close collaboration, and commitment with stakeholders during iteration planning, and the team must be open to feedback during review and retrospective meetings. Availability of high-end infrastructures, such as video conferencing, messaging systems, and other collaboration tools, at the team’s workplace will help distributed teams effectively collaborate and communicate.
  3. System thinking: Team members should know what are core objectives towards which we are working are and what modules other teams are working upon, teams should not only focus on completing and optimizing their piece of code whereas it requires them to optimizing the entire system.
  4. Devops: Agile development is incomplete without CI/CD (Continuous Integration and Continuous Deployment) in place as with continuous integration, developers frequently integrate their code into the main branch of a common repository. Rather than building features in isolation and submitting each of them at the end of the cycle. Continuous delivery is actually an extension of CI, in which the software delivery process is automated further to enable easy and confident deployments into production—at any time.

If you are at the helm of a team about to undergo an Agile transformation, here’s the key to making it a high-performing team as well.

Agile Process

Treat it like a watchword and help your teams grow!

Blogger: Lalit Gandhi

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