Stable Teams in Agility Transformation

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 will explain how to design organizational structure around stable teams. We'll also learn about the importance of, and strategies for, enabling teams and leveraging the power of 'communities of practice.'

Agile Transformations

John, the CEO of TechsAll, Inc., is moving his organization into agile thinking and principles. He holds a large meeting to discuss the need to focus on the consumer and their feelings towards the products and services TechsAll provides.

John shares his vision to become the tech company with the highest quality product based on customer interactions and communication. He excites his company to pursue these new principles, but after the meeting everything stays the same and the problems remain, decreasing morale.

John's organization starts to flounder as his employees scramble to figure out what to do better. This is where John should have worked on creating and reinforcing stable teams.

Put simply, agile principles focus on encounters and people instead of products. One of the primary goals is to simplify and eliminate unnecessary actions, making an organization more consistent and stable. However, the process of changing your business from the current standard to agile thinking can be challenging. It can destabilize your institution unless you have got a solid infrastructure, which should start with stable and skilled teams.

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  • 0:04 Agile Transformations
  • 1:14 How to Create a Stable Team
  • 2:30 Communities of Practice
  • 3:09 Forming a Stable Team…
  • 5:03 Lesson Summary
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How to Create a Stable Team

The main working parts of any organization are the people; the teams of managers and support staff. They are the framework and foundation of your business, which means they need to be set up, stabilized, and working consistently before you continue your agile transformation. To start you will need to:

  • Reassess current teams: are the current teams set up best for agile thinking? Are small teams set up with people that have a variety of skills to bring to the table?
  • Review leadership roles: make sure your team leaders are going to be the most effective for the teams created.

Agile teams usually are not built of all software engineers or customer service reps. Instead, you have a team of seven people, and each of them brings a different talent to the group. For example, one of John's teams has a customer service rep, a graphic designer, a software engineer, a hardware specialist, and so on.

Once you've analyzed the skills of your employees and managers, you can set up the new, smaller teams. These groups will have an easier time communicating because of their size. Also, due to their variety of skills, each individual will be able to bring new eyes to a project, creating insular and self-sustaining teams.

Communities of Practice

The only issue with these insular teams is that they start to work so fluidly that they stop communicating with other teams and employees. This is where communities of practice become important. Communities of practice are voluntarily run groups of like-minded individuals within your organization. For example, a community of employees with a passion for software creation or a community with people who love graphic design.

These communities bring employees with similar ideas together, creating more communication throughout your organization. It can also inspire new ideas, since people bounce innovations back and forth with people that have the same background.

Forming a Stable Team Organization

Now that you have stable teams you can design your organization around them. The following are some ways to start this process:

Assign decision makers

John's teams are set up with selected leaders, but who is making the decisions on what team works what project? The senior management staff should have delegated responsibilities, including who makes those decisions.

Issue new standards

Since John's organizational structure has changed dramatically, he needs to issue a reevaluated set of standard practices for the employees to follow.

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