What is an Agile Team

by StarAgile

May 20, 2020
Category Agile and Scrum

We are aware that joint effort is required to complete most of the tasks in an organization. Even though we have individual contributors they all combine hands and break the work into chunks to complete them and give them shape as a whole. Collaborative work has many benefits that include an increase in the efficiency of the work, and also productivity. 

However, few things must be adopted by the team to make it successful. 

What is it and what not it is? – Agile Team

There are few misconceptions about a team in general when compared to agile teams. What are they? Let us first understand that before answering the question. The moment we mention the name team, what do we think? We think it consists of a group of people. We know they have the same competency to complete the task. Also, we insist them to think alike to avoid conflicts. Finally, we expect them to work together or in concurrence to finish the assigned work successfully. 

These are all the misconceptions as far as an agile team is concerned. It is a cross-functional team, which means not all team members are experts in one area. But each individual with a different role will work together to complete the entire work. They do not agree blindly but conflict arises as different functional players will require distributed data. But, these conflicts are constructive and will aim towards achieving the goal of delivering the product. 

Thus the agile team is a team that consists of developers, testing engineers, scrum master, product owner as of the key players. All these people work together and make sure they meet the customer’s needs. 

Additionally, each person will be aware of the other job responsibilities and they can change hats as well. 

How does it work

Now that we understood what it is all about, thus it becomes easy to know how it works. The workflow of an agile team is as follows. 

  • The product owner fetches the requirement from the customer. Also, the PO will discuss in detail about the expectation/outcome with the client. Once they get a firm grip on the product they call for a team meeting. 
  • The meeting will contain all the members including the developers, testers, SM, etc. The PO will then explain the requirement. Once a brainstorming discussion is completed the PO will create backlogs and assign the same. 
  • The SM will meet with the team daily to know if things are on track. Wherever required escalations are done and clarifications are obtained. 
  • Then comes the sprint meeting with all stakeholders that include the customers too. This meeting will discuss what is completed and what needs to be done next. 
  • Likewise daily stand up and 2 weeks sprint meeting continues until things are done. 
  • Also, sprint retrospective is carried out to fix issues that cause harm to the product development. 
  • Finally, the developed product is shipped to the customer. 

This process is foolproof and the customer is aware of changes and is in consent. There are no last-minute surprises and hence prevent any rework. 

Top 5 Characteristics 

It is easy to form an agile team but tough to maintain one for obtaining successful results. 

1. Trust

The first and foremost trait of an agile team is seeding trust amongst all. It is just not about team working together but both the business and team members must have mutual trust. Only with trust taking step towards successful development is possible. 

2. Transparent 

Having trust is the foundation and making it strongly depends on being transparent. Beginning from the PO everyone in the team is expected to make things visible. Whether something is doable or not becomes secondary but having an open talk will provide rooms for aligning the work to achieve the goal. 

3. Agenda specific 

The entire work from the beginning should be focussed. Know the purpose of the product and that will pave way for correct development leading to delivery on time. Let the team know the purpose in advance to bring them to a common page. 

4. Effective communication 

Keeping open talks will make each team member comfortable to work. For example, a testing team in agile projects can communicate clearly about what goes wrong and can even suggest corrections. This liberty to communicate is the key to the success of every agile team.

5. Maintain continuous improvement and collaboration

Effective communication combined with teamwork will pave the way for continuous improvement. Collecting feedback and correcting them is in short called collaborative work and constant improvement. 

Tips and Tricks of Successful Agile Teams

After looking at the major traits of an agile team we will understand that those are the primary reason for success. However, there are few inputs that every team member in the agile team should remember to make agile methodology successful. 

1. The product owner should own the product and must be able to talk vocally to the end-user about the changes as suggested by the team. This means they should graduate from a business analyst and become a PO to say no whenever things are not workable. This will help the team to develop the right product in the given time. 

2. Likewise, scrum master must be a coach and a facilitator. This person should know how to get the team aligned. They must work towards resolving conflict by acting as a mentor. They must also stick on to timelines to pull the team together.

3. The team namely the developer and the tester should always not develop any complex towards others. But they must work towards the common goal and that is shipping the end product per customer expectation. They should not think twice to provide feedback and accept criticism too. 

4. All the above stakeholders who form the team should make sure to be part of the respective meetings to contribute to the final product. They can work individually but not in silos. 

Wrapping up thoughts 

To embrace your agile team whether you are a PO or a scrum master or developers you can register for a training program to know how to effectively work as an agile team member. You can consider opting for a CSM Certification or CSPO Certification. The former will cover the basics of the Scrum framework and elaborates on the role of each team player. On the other hand, the latter training will cover all topics of basics and includes sessions about product backlogs, etc.  

The purpose of the training is to provide you with an agile mindset to help you succeed in your career. Be the best team member in your agile team and that is the key expectation from you.