Scrum Agile Project Management

Transforming to Collaborative Agile Teams

This article presents the changes needed to create collaborative agile teams. It explains that you need to modify in your traditional project management team both the process, the way people get work done, and how people work together.

Author: Sally Elatta,
Originally published in AMarch 5 on

Gartner has predicted that by the year 2012 “agile development methods will be utilized in 80% of all software development projects”. My webinar titled ‘Building Lean High Performing Teams’ discusses the key tools an organization needs to consider as it transforms to building collaborative Agile teams. In my experience, I’ve found that many organizations are looking for that quick fix or that one ‘magic bullet’ tool that will solve all problems. In reality, you need a combination of process and people transformation tools to truly achieve a lasting and impactful transformation.

Team transformation
Team transformation

To achieve this, you need to consider a Process Transformation in addition to a People Transformation. Let’s see below what the transformation goals would be for each:

Team transformation goals
Team transformation goals

Let’s look at these process and people issues from the context of a project team or large program with several distributed teams! To make things more exciting, think about how many of our current organizations have departments that only represent one function (Analysis, Development, Testing, Claims, Sales) but these areas must work together to deliver actual value to the end customer. Some of the common issues include being too task oriented, not seeing the end to end value stream process, lack of communication/trust, disconnect from the customer and much more.

So as you can see, it’s a complicated problem we’re trying to solve and no one tool (even Agile!) alone can offer the entire solution. When you chose to have distributed teams then of course the problem is compounded with cultural, communication and timezone barriers. Nevertheless, I believe these impediments call for MORE not less collaboration because your risks of project trouble far outweigh the inconveniences of making this communication happen.

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