In this issue:
Is it a manager’s job to search through haystacks to find people who can become part of a jelled team? Not really. If you know you have an unjeller, the manager’s job is to prevent that person from being on a team you hope will jell.
The manager’s role is simple to say and quite difficult to do:
- Create an environment of psychological safety.
- Make sure people have the tools and knowledge to do the work.
- Trust the people to do their work.
Here are some ways the manager can create that environment:
- Help people know what their purpose is. It’s possible the manager (or a manager) might have to help people create a project charter. In the case of a workgroup, the team might have to charter itself so they know their purpose.
- Help the people learn how to provide each other feedback and coaching, so they can learn (master) the domain and necessary technical skills. In addition, when the entire team can provide each other feedback and coaching, they learn to depend on each other.
- Help the team learn to create small, safe-to-fail experiments so they can be autonomous in how they work, and master their skills.
That means that managers do less work with the team. Managers don’t control, dictate, or tell people what to do. Instead, managers pay attention to the team’s environment and culture.
The manager protects the team from people-based disruption, which can run the gamut from multitasking to people entering or exiting the team too frequently before the team has a chance to build trust with each other.
The manager might create team building activities: up to a day of work where the team has to focus as a team to finish work. (I’m talking about the work the team does at work, not ropes courses or any other physical activity.) I find swarming and mobbing excellent team building activities. You don’t need to be agile to use swarming or mobbing. They work on any project.
Sometimes, the most difficult part for a manager is trusting people to do the work. If you’re a manager, you might ask these questions:
- When will I see any progress?
- When will you tell me about any problems I might want to know about?
- When do you need me to help you?
These questions and their answers can help create a collaboration between the manager and the team that does not involve controlling what the team does.
The previous parts to this series on jelled teams:
- The Case for Stable Teams, Part 1
- The Case Against Stable Teams, Part 2
- The Manager’s Role in Creating Effective Teams, Part 3
I hope you enjoyed this series. I’ll be back to a monthly newsletter in September.
My new book, Create Your Successful Agile Project: Collaborate, Measure, Estimate, Deliver is in beta. That means we are combing through it for typos and anything that doesn’t make sense. Yes, you can buy the ebook now.
Here’s why I wrote the book: Every project and every team is unique. Your agile approach should reflect your uniqueness. And, yes, I have a chapter on teams and the interpersonal skills a team needs to be able to be a jelled team.
I am not offering any online workshops through the rest of this year. I am revamping the workshops and adding a book writing workshop. If you are interested in the product owner workshop or any of the writing workshops, let me know. See my online workshops page to see my current offerings. I expect to start offering the online workshops again early in 2018. I’ll announce the offerings here in this newsletter.
Are you new to the Pragmatic Manager newsletter? See previous issues.
If you like the idea of romance between smart technical women and just-as-interesting men, I’m starting to write romance in my spare (!) time. See Johanna’s Fiction.
Till next time,
Tags: agile project management, Create Your Successful Agile Project, jelled team, management, teams