What is an Agile Team?

An Agile team is a cross-functional group of individuals that work together to achieve a shared goal and are adaptable to changing client requirements.

One thing that distinguishes them from typical teams is that they are self-directed and self-organized individuals who practice shared leadership.

An Adaptive Approach to Building an Agile Team Structure

Many individuals assume that introducing Agile for the first time is a one-time task that concludes with the application of a certain framework. In fact, the process continues to evolve as you learn new techniques.

  • Service-Oriented Roadmap
    The first approach in developing and making your teams more Agile is to perceive them as services rather than ephemeral resources. From product development to sales and marketing, every team member is a service provider in some way who helps the organization go forward by directly or indirectly contributing value to the end product. To ensure synergy across all teams, consider them as a network of interconnected services, with each service evolving on its own. As a result, you will be able to streamline the whole flow of value to your clients.
  • Focus on the client
    Everything we develop should be observed from the client’s perspective. That is why understanding what makes our services suited for their purpose is a crucial step in improving our team’s performance. To do so, we assess their “fitness criteria,” which are factors of how effectively a product or service satisfies a client’s expectations. Once teams have this understanding, they can build their processes around the demands of their clients and deliver services that are more “fit for purpose” for their target market.
  • Manage work
    You should mainly concentrate on managing work while allowing team members to self-organize around it to facilitate good service delivery. Keep in mind that team members are the ones closest to the technical aspects of client demands, thus it makes sense to delegate decision-making responsibilities to them.
  • Enhance company performance by updating policies
    Finally, for your systems to keep running smoothly, you must recognize your team’s operations as a collection of policies that provide a mutual understanding of how work is completed. Make such policies clear and accessible to everyone. This allows for interactive discussions and potential adjustments. The approach is to initially observe how your teams offer services to the market and then progressively improve their approach by portraying the value delivery process from the client’s perspective. As a result, you will increase overall company performance while maintaining the agility to swiftly adjust to changing client demands.

Agile Team Roles

  • Team Lead or Scrum Master
    The team lead or scrum master is responsible for finding resources for the team and ensuring that they implement agile values and principles and adhere to the processes and practices that the team committed to follow.
  • Product Owner
    The one who represents the client’s interests; basically, the person who owns the product the agile team is developing.
  • Team Member
    This position is often filled by someone with programming or software development expertise. However, as Agile expands outside IT, it may refer to anybody who offers something valuable to the team that helps in the completion of deliverables.
  • Tester
    Since Agile projects are delivered in stages, testing is critical. You must regression test what you’ve already released to guarantee that your current iteration does not accidentally break something.

Agile Team Structures

Below are 5 agile team structures to consider when building your own teams.

  1. Generalist Agile Team: Anybody can pick up any task at any time
  2. Specialist Agile Team: Everyone on the team has different skills
  3. Transitioning Agile Team: While the team is learning about Agile
  4. Parallel Agile Team: Everyone changes jobs per sprint
  5. Agile Product Sub-Team: A self-contained unit of a larger team

As an Agile team lead or scrum master, you must choose the optimal structure for your Agile team. All of the structures described above are generic, and agile is a flexible approach. So, adapt it.

Pay attention to the team’s needs and how you can fulfill them. Make use of their knowledge. And continue to experiment until you uncover an approach that allows your agile team to succeed for everyone on it.