What is a self-managed or self-organizing team?
The description here might not be a typical industry description. This is the final product of my research into creating a self-managed team.
The team members decide and organize the project without any assistance from the line manager.
Tasks were accomplished without follow-up and with high quality.
In the event of an unplanned absence of a person, the load of work is automatically shared by other members of the group.
Knowledge sharing that improves the efficiency of the entire team
What does it mean to be truly Agile
There is no element (a software module or set of functions etc.)/application limits.
The team controls the functional area (group of functions related to it, for example: in the communications area, Fault Management is a specific functional area) totally.
A variety of levels of experience are available for every application that could be possible within the team.
Maintenance tasks that are shared by the team members
Effective team relationships open communication, clear communication, and sharing of information to the team’s benefit and objectives
Team members with experience
The team is comprised of software developers.
Most developers have two years’ experience or less.
Two or three technically proficient developers with around 4-6 years of experience
Why do we need to be agile?
This was due to the business situation, which led to the reduced budget resources.
However, the know-how must be kept.
Certain applications were more difficult than others, while some had were not considered.
Certain applications were more prone to maintenance tasks, and others had been more developed.
Team resistance and insecurity towards the new working style
The process of building knowledge
Aspirations to match and expectations of team players
Evaluation of performance
Strategies to overcome the obstacles
1. Team resistance and insecurity towards the new working style
The first step prior to making this happen was to earn an understanding and confidence in the team. Building trust isn’t an easy job. It is built through your everyday interactions with others and the way you respond to mistakes, excellent work done, and more. It took about six months to establish that trust and trust. Following that, the team should feel an identity and enthusiasm for the project’s goals. The manager must be capable of motivating and inspiring team members to work in that direction. This requires clear and consistent communication with team members. They should be able to encourage and demand transparency in communication and team cooperation. When trust in the team, respect, enthusiasm, and a good cooperative team spirit is attained, and the team is in good shape, they will be ready for action.
2. Building up knowledge
Initially, during the start, everybody had an individual application/component assigned. In the later stages, they were involved with various applications to complete small tasks. The tasks were reviewed by experts prior to giving. In this period, they gained knowledge of this software as well. They were then assigned more responsibility in the application. As a result, all team members learned about all the software within the group. The expectations were established right from the beginning. For e.g., When this task is completed, I expect you to learn more about this application and be able to handle more difficult tasks in relation to this application.
If there isn’t a fixed part or application responsibility for team members, accountability becomes an issue. To overcome this, certain applications were grouped into clusters. One top team member was given the responsibility for all aspects. This person is ultimately accountable for the quality of the work as well as the coaching and mentorship of team members. The team members are also responsible for finishing their day-to-daily tasks in a timely manner and seeking assistance from the senior members of the team when needed. They also have to take care of the senior member’s technical duties if the person is away. I was faced with criticism from the senior member regarding the errors and issues caused by junior members. My response to these complaints was that it is the responsibility of an elder member of the organization to coach and mentor their younger members. If they’re not performing well, then there is something not right with mentoring or coaching. The complaints would eventually die down. Managers should have a knowledge of what each can be capable of. Managers should use their judgment when addressing complaints.
4. Aspirations to match and expectations of team players
It is essential from the start to know the goals and expectations for team members. It is helpful for the manager to have an individual discussion with team members in order to learn about their expectations. The manager must try to align the work tasks with the goals of the team members as much as they can. If this isn’t feasible, it should be made clear by the member of the team in detail and with justifications in a clear manner. For e.g., In the event that a person isn’t capable of performing a certain task, the reason must be made clear to the person and give suggestions for how to gain the ability.
There was a concern that a team member was always performing maintenance. He was not enjoying this and was getting bored. When this was brought to my attention, at the next chance, I decided to assign the maintenance duties to a different employee. After some time, I realized this was not a great method of working. I told everyone in the team to undertake maintenance work along with their current duties on an as-needed basis.
5. Performance Evaluation
Another issue that arises when adopting the agile approach is the evaluation of performance. If no component/application responsibility is assigned, it is difficult to measure the end result from each team member. The traditional methods for the evaluation of performance are not applicable in this case. The manager must depend on the team members to receive feedback. The best way to evaluate is to seek feedback from team members on each of them. Everyone in the group should be aware of the fact that this feedback is appreciated. There must be a lot of emphasis on teamwork and co-operation. Feedback on the team members, including managers, should be taken in a different manner from each member of the team. It is important to communicate to all team members the fact that soft abilities and technical skills can be used to evaluate performance. The quantity of feedback I received from the team was incredible. It was consistent with the notes and assessments that I created throughout the project. The team’s feedback is passed on to the member of the team, but I was not told who provided the feedback, and they accept these in a gracious manner. There have been instances where the members of the team are friends with one personally yet do not have any issues criticizing the work of that person. The team has learned how to keep professional and personal relationships distinct.
I was forced to use this approach of working because of the budget restrictions in the area I was in charge of. The difficulties I faced were just during the first six months. After that, everything went smoothly. The team was extremely cohesive and was able to be perceived as a unified group at all times (for coffee, lunch, picnics, etc.). The team could produce top-quality results and also handle any emergency work that was requested by the client. In the conventional setup, this wouldn’t be feasible. Because they were flexible in their approach, I had to communicate any issue to the team, and they were able to find the solution. This is my opinion as to the first step in introducing an Agile method of managing projects. After my research, my position as manager was no longer required to perform a few administrative tasks. Therefore, I changed to a different project. All good things must come to an end. After about 2.5 three years, the team will get old and may need to be revived by adding more members and also removing current members.