Leading an agile team can be rewarding and also challenging. It is an opportunity to apply your leadership and vision, and to introduce those the ideas and behaviours that are important to you. One of the main benefits is the opportunity to grow and develop the careers of your teams, and to have an impact wider than your own individual technical skills.
It is also a challenge. Often the skills that got you the promotion, or new job, aren't the ones you need to be successful in the new role. If you are inheriting an existing team, they usually have work in-flight so it’s important to be up to speed with what the team is doing, and whether they are on track for meeting their (now your) objectives. Every team, company, and situation is different, with unique challenges so it is important that you quickly identify where to focus your energies.
I'll outline a framework (with themes and a checklist) for assessing the situation, and constructing a 30 day plan to set yourself, and the team, up for success:
Theme 1: Build the things right (The technical aspects of delivering quality solutions)
Theme 2. Build the right thing (validating the planned deliverables against the desired business outcomes)
Theme 3. Build the right Team (building a resilient, highly engaged, highly skilled team, who work well together and who can efficiently adjust to unforseen changes, whilst still delivering the outcomes)
I believe that a successful agile team achieves a conscious balance between these themes. If they aren't focussed on all three, then they are unlikely to be as successful as they could be.
Against these three themes I'll present and discuss a 6 point checklist that will help the new leader develop a 30 day plan:
1. Business objectives and environment – assess whether the team is doing productive work that aligns with the business needs.
2. Team – build a highly engaged, resilient team that understand their contribution to the larger business outcomes
3. Metrics –continually visualise progress against your goals
4. Stakeholders – build a strong relationship, and clear lines of communication
5. Continual improvement – no team should stand still and no team has reached perfection, so continuously analyse performance and focus on getting better.
6. Budget – understand the financial commitment to help plan activities and team dynamics
The aim of the talk is to be educational, offering up a set of ideas, supported with real-world examples, that the attendees can adopt in their own organisations, to help them and their teams become more successful.