Project Management

Going Agile – Coach and Empower the Team

Working in an agile project as a team can be like sharing an apartment: there is one team member who usually cleans up, while another one never sees the mess, another one never shares anything and yet another one borrows everything. Some people drain your energy and it takes determination to deal with them.

A similar situation occurs to agile projects. The whole team shares a working environment. You are supposed to be generalist and do any story required to deliver. You are supposed to accept change even late in process.

Based on a few past projects, we could identify different team member personalities and behaviors that have a positive and negative impact on the execution of the project:

A)  A team member is able, but unwilling or insecure?

B) or is unable, but willing or confident?

C) or maybe able and willing?

Dealing with the different types of team members requires the Agile Coach to observe and determine the right level of support and guidance to give. The Hershey and Blanchard Situational Leadership frameworks based on the two dimensions of support and guidance suggests the following actions are useful in developing team leadership abilities depending upon the quadrant in which the person is located.

1. The Agile Coach offers training & guidance

2. The Agile Coach explains & clarifies

3. The Agile Coach shares ideas & facilitates

4. The Agile Coach observes & delegates

Coach & empower the team

Adapted from: Hersey, Paul, and Kenneth H. Blanchard -Management of organizational behavior (5th Ed). Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 2008

Different types of team members can be placed in the Hershey and Blanchard quadrant based on their behavior, willingness, and abilities to participate within the team. Depending on the quadrant, an Agile Coach could provide details on agile values, principals, or practices to the team and use agile events and games to support the team develop development.

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