productivity tips · Oct 23, 2020

10 Tips for Transforming Into a High Performing Agile Team

Agile Project Management

Agile teams, like any, face their challenges. And while the agile method has often been discussed like a magic cure-all for organization and task efficiency, it’s got to be done properly in order to be successful.

Because the agile method is more than just a gimmick way of selling stuff. It is an efficient setup for businesses to use in order to boost productivity and cost-efficiencies.

However, if there is not enough communication, goal-setting, cooperation, and leadership, agile teams can fail just like any other.

Transform Your Team Into A High-performing Agile Team

Here are 10 tips to transform your team into a high-performing agile team that will meet all their goals in a timely, effective, cost-efficient manner.

These tips include: ensuring your team has a strong foundation, and a good culture of teamwork: remain goal orientated, always be willing to learn new things; make KPIs clear; keep the team busy, and; encourage innovation.

1. Establish a sturdy foundation

An agile team is one that works well together and enjoys working together as a team. So, it is necessary to integrate common values into the team. This is vital as it will help create a collaborative work culture. It will also help to bring your team together and encourage integration.

And since the agile method emphasizes the benefits of cross-functional teams working together, incorporating common values is an absolute must.

It is a well-known fact that as teams bond together and the dynamic of the group gels, team members are more productive and efficient. When we say the group gels, we really just mean that when people like working with others they tend to do better work. And more of it.

Read more on how to increase team productivity based on Myers-Briggs Personality Types.

2. Create robust engineering practices

This is one of those concepts that sounds way fancier than it actually is. But, it is important to keep in mind the concept of the agile team started out in the I.T. world, so there is definitely going to be some lingering tech-jargon.

Creating robust engineering practices, in context to agile teams outside I.T., just means ensuring there is structure. That is all.

Making sure that each task, each goal, each KPI, has a clear series of steps. And that the structure of these steps is closely monitored, assessed, and optimized to get the best results.

The best way to create robust engineering practices is to have tasks lists with a set structure that can be implemented any time a certain task has to be done. This way there are fewer mistakes and more efficient output.

3. Maintain continuous mentoring

Communication is vital. Ensuring team members have access to an environment supportive of their professional growth is incredibly important. Without this, it can be hard for your team to stay motivated, or to stay on top of their game.

This is why it is necessary to create and nurture an environment where your team members can talk, provide constructive feedback, and have access to learn resources.

Access to this is necessary to increase knowledge and ensure everyone is on the same page. It also keeps people motivated.

You do not always have to get outside mentors. Sometimes your senior staff can be mentors to the newer members. You may find there are even times when new staff may inadvertently have something to teach the senior staff.

Another useful thing which can be done is create a network of knowledge sharing across the company and with a number of specialists.

Continuous communication can be carried out in team management software to enable your agile team to comment on tasks and projects in real time allowing everyone on the team to stay informed.

Learn more on what a team management software is and how it can help your team success.

4. Establish a multi-disciplinary team

The highest performing agile teams have people with a wide variety of skills, because it allows for work to be effectively accomplished.

It is necessary for a multi-disciplinary team to be highly motivated and have the accountability and authority to achieve whatever goals they’re given.

By having a multi-disciplinary or cross-functional team, they can provide results by combining their talents and skills.

5. Ensure team knows the end goal/big picture

Do not leave your team in the dark as to why they are working on a particular set of tasks. Knowing how each task or assignment aligns with the end goal and the big picture helps teams work better.

This is because when people know the big picture, it allows them to make sure the work they are doing is done properly. Both for the task at hand, and for how that task fits into the end goal.

This is why it is so important to invest the necessary time to communicate the current goals and priorities and how they relate to the end goal.

Doing this will increase your team’s engagement with their work, and help them to improve ownership of their work.

With agile teams, this works by ensuring all members of the team discuss with each other their vision and goals. Which can be done quickly at the beginning of the week, or at the beginning of a new stage in the project in a brief meeting. By brief, we mean 5 or 10 minutes.

Sharing goals, and ensuring everyone is on the same page, is key to keeping an agile team performing at their best. Simply because constant communication and understanding where their work fits in the overall project helps foster creativity and innovation.

As well as helping everyone feel responsible not only for their work, but also for the project as a whole.

6. Enable team members to make their own decisions

Your team members are people. Not robots. So, if you want them to work effectively, you need to enable them to make their own decisions where necessary.

You can do this by presenting them with the bigger picture and then give them the freedom to work in a way that best suits them. And helps them to successfully contribute to the end goal.


7. Small teams are more efficient

For many projects small agile teams are more efficient. This is because they are often nimbler, and are able to collaborate and communicate easier.

A small team is about 5 to 7 people. If you have more than that, see if it’s possible to break them up into smaller groups to get the most effective work done.

8. Ensure team members have KPIs and can identify useful metrics

Quick caveat: KPIs need to be meaningful—and specific—to the agile team. There’s really no point in having generic KPIs based on vague metrics.

Also: find the right balance. Ultimately, the work needs to be done to specifications, but it cannot be bogged down by meaningless KPIs. By this we mean KPIs should be about metrics which help measure and boost the overall performance of the tasks or project.

Key performance indicators should be created in a way that measures genuine progress in achieving a goal.

Useful metrics are ones that allow the agile team to improve their work, but also communicate to management how successfully work is progressing.

team success

9. Create time and space for innovation

In an ideal world, it would be nice for teams to be able to factor in 20% to 30% of their time for innovation and fun. This has been shown to help people stay fresh, contribute to your organization’s innovation, and keep morale high.

Different companies have different ways of approaching this. And letting team members blow off a little steam, as well as do a little creative brainstorming, has shown to help people feel more connected with their workplace.

It also helps motivate them to do better work consistently.

10. Keep the team busy

Idle teams tend to lose their motivation and their momentum. The best way to keep them motivated and to ensure work is being consistently completed is to ensure a steady stream of work is sent their way.

This can be done with agile project management and deep work method.

If there are always task lists set up and ready to be assigned, then when an agile team has finished one project, the next one is there ready and waiting for them.

The advantage of this is it allows teams to work on one project at a time efficiently. Another advantage is that by working through tasks lists it minimizes the risk of work piling up, or a team going from idle to under the pump.

Task management software

Build a Strong Agile Team

These 10 tips are just some of the ways you transform your team into a high-performing agile team. And, if you are thinking about setting up an agile team, ensuring as many of these tips are in place first will help to build a strong agile team who can hit the ground running.

It is also a good idea to have a team management software that will help you with the organization and collaboration aspects necessary for a high-performing agile team.

To successfully implement agile project management in your business, finding the right team management software can make all the difference.

If you would like to share your successful stories or agile project management tips, comment below or tweet us at @quire_io 🏆

Josh Guilar
Quire Marketing Team