agile > chapter 3 iterative and incremental execution and delivery > 14 monitoring the team

Monitoring the Team

We need to always remember the agile core value of people over processes when facilitating the agile process in a team setting. Here are some things to consider.

Emotional Intelligence

This includes recognizing and managing the emotions of teammates (self-awareness and self-regulation), their levels of motivation, empathy and ability in conflict management.

Each member can decide how the react to stimuli that trigger certain emotions (reactive) or better yet we can reduce the chances of extreme stimuli occurring (proactive). It is most crucial for team leaders to manage their own emotions and also lighten the emotional load placed on their teammates or guide them through phases when such load cannot be avoided.

Empowering teams

We do not order (command and control) around teammates as to what to do. They must feel empowered to complete tasks and we must help with that empowerment. If we fixate on breaking down tasks and assigning them to personnel as we see fit then we do not create an environment where individuals can bring their own creative abilities and complex problem solving skills to the forefront.

Pro tip: Leave the work team alone after agreeing on the work to be done. Don't restrict them with a work plan. Let them cook.

The requirements serve as high-level goals not specifications for every detail involved in the work. Let the experts handle the nitty-gritty - don't talk down to them as if they are children.

Self-organized teams

The work team will organize itself to more effectively complete the tasks they decide upon. The agile manager does not give up all power - we always need to put limits to ensure the project moves forward. We simply are loosening the constraints where creative freedom and analytical thinking in the work team needs to take over. We help them to get the work started (giving them a sense of direction) and they take over.

The Storming phase is where the ideas of each individual is generated and is in their own opinion the best option. In the "I" phase, each member gives their opinion about what can be done. In the Norming phase, the general direction is given and we consolidate the various views into a self-organized and self-directed plan.