Friday, 21 September 2012

Motivating Agile Teams

How to motivate my team towards Agile?

This is a very common question that most of the managers come across when an organization or a team is in the phase of rolling out Agile processes. I must say that there is no shortcut answer to this but I would take this stand - "Don't do anything special to motivate your team towards Agile".

Forget Agile for a while. Think of any product or service that you use, for personal use or professional use. You would probably love it for its value and not because of those eye-catching presentations or speeches on them. Of course, these marketing materials would get you there but ultimately the single reason why you like it or recommend it to others is for its VALUE. Now, the same applies to Agile. Though, end of the day, motivating the team is something that a manager has to address, he cannot do Sales and Marketing job to sell Agile to the team.

First off, before trying to motivate the team towards Agile, the manager needs to answer the question, "Am I motivated?". If the manager himself is not motivated, there is little that can be done about motivating the team.
There are a few basic things that a motivated manager can consider to encourage his team and come over the resistance of the team towards Agile. Bettering is not always about doing new things, but sometimes it is about not doing a few things.

Don’t make Scrum a status meeting:
--- Every individual would have this question inside them - What’s in it for me?.
--- Prove the value of scrum meetings by asking them right questions or providing them with valuable tips that would help them think better on their tasks and make them think that they are getting real value. Offer your help wherever you can.
--- Let status be a by-product but not the intention of the discussions.

Encourage Team Collaboration:
--- Prove the value of 'team collaboration' by encouraging healthy discussions and very soon they themselves find the value of Agile by seeing the team is contributing to their tasks and and they are contributing to the team.
--- Be participative and you would sell Agile by 'Doing' it. It is a different thing that the manager is hands-on or not. (There is always a difference of opinion on this and there are varied versions of  understanding a 'self-organizing team’. But, for now, it is good enough to say that it goes with the requirements of the project and every project is different.) Irrespective of a manager is hands-on or not, he can always play a catalyst role in that he would enable the team to get the things done.
--- If the scrum meetings and team collaborations are seen to be producing results, then you are there. On the other hand, if they see it as yet another meeting and yet another process, no 'artificial' stuff can motivate them.

Create a Complementing team, not a Competing team:
I often hear the idea of identifying and rewarding the ‘Best performer of the Sprint’. Remember the intention is not to create a Competing team but a Complementing team and there is a lot of difference between these two things. The idea is to create a motivating team towards a common goal. If you introduce these ultra-short-term rewards, what happens is individuals work for their own goals. Of course, good performance has to be rewarded but Scrums and Sprints are not the platform for this.

Don't let your intentions to motivate the team turn out to be actions to demotivate the team.

Verifying Question

If you are a manager - Are you making your efforts to motivate the team by showing the value of Agile in action?

(Attribution: Images on this post are downloaded from FreeDigitalPhotos.Net)

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