Developing & Leading Agile Teams

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Joseph Madison

Joseph received his Doctorate from UMUC in Management. He retired from the Army after 23 years of service, working in intelligence, behavioral health, and entertainment.

This lesson describes the process of building a self-organizing agile team. It also covers the importance of knowing team members as people and professionals.

Agile Leadership

Maya, a manager at Polka Dots Are Fun, Inc., leads a small agile team that works on the marketing of their fashion line. Each team member has a unique knowledge base. One employee used to work as a fashion model, another worked in advertising, and another is skilled in graphic design. These skills create a special marketing team that brings a unique set of skills to the table.

Maya has recently set up a weekend retreat for her employees to engage with each other. She emphasizes the need to get to know each other face-to-face while also learning some new things about the company. This is agile leadership.

Agile leadership was once purely for software development organizations. However, over the years its principles have been integrated into a variety of businesses. The main idea of agile thinking is that the emphasis of businesses should be on the people and their encounters. Agility also promotes independent thinking, risk, and collaboration, not just with your peers but with your customers. Agile leadership focuses on innovation and customers to create an environment of success. However, agile organizations are not made overnight and require changes in infrastructure, behavior, and the entire culture of your organization.

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  • 0:04 Agile Leadership
  • 1:19 How to Develop an Agile Team
  • 2:35 How to Lead an Agile Team
  • 4:07 Lesson Summary
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How to Develop an Agile Team

One of the key pieces of following agile principles is to develop agile teams, which are made up in a specific way. First, let's address the process of developing your team, which can be done through small teams, unique skills, independent thinkers, outgoing communicators, and cultural intelligence.

  1. Make sure your team has only enough people to get the job done, preferably six to eight maximum.
  2. Each person on the team should have different skills that contribute to the whole. For example, software skills, social media skills, and hardware skills would be a great combination for a technology firm.
  3. Individuals should feel free to think outside the box and enjoy taking risks. This creates the innovation needed in an agile team.
  4. Face-to-face communication is vital for agility, so employees that struggle with communication may be an obstacle.
  5. Most agile teams require cultural agility as well. Individuals that have experience in this arena, such as studying abroad, international volunteering, or languages, will add to the team.

These principles will help you develop a good team to start working in your agile organization. However, you'll have to keep them interested and lead them effectively.

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