Will Your Agile Teams Deliver? Now You Can Predict Success or Struggle With Analytics & Remedy Before Failure Costs Pile Up

Agile Teams Are Like Marriage…

Anticipation for success is high at the beginning, but as difficulties arise, disappointment seeps into the team (53% of marriages end in divorce).

According to the Gartner Hype Cycle, Agile project management is reaching the peak of inflated expectations – another similarity to marriage.

Good news: According to PWC Agile projects are 28% more successful than traditional projects.
As always, there’s bad news too:

Ok, so you’re a fast growth company with a bunch of agile teams – what to do to avoid creeping disappointment? Set them up for success: make sure your team leaders are developing – and using – the skills required to transform underperformance into overdrive.

Leaders can’t change what they’re not aware of. And worse than that, what we are not aware of, we often think we are better at. Managing this unconscious incompetence is essential when teams aren’t progressing as expected.

Number one task of you, their team leader?

Become aware of the good, the bad, the ugly and the beautiful of your team – and you, as the leader. How do you become aware? By understanding where the likely problems are.

What is This Thing Called Agile and Why Does Leading Agile Teams Stress People Out?

A “team” in the Agile sense is a small group of people, assigned to the same project or effort, nearly all of them on a full-time basis. A small minority of team members may be part-time contributors or may have competing responsibilities. Expecting people to be on an agile team and have full-time job responsibilities beyond the team, may be a first clue to the cause of stress.

 

The notion of team implies shared accountability: good or bad, the outcomes are attributed to BOTH individuals AND the team. A team is made up of “I’s” who are working together to make the “WE.” But sharing accountability is often not the case, is it!

The team is expected to possess all of the necessary competencies, whether technical (programming, designing, testing) or business (domain knowledge, decision-making ability). Except no one has training in agile leadership, structures, process and cohesion. What structures? Read on.

Roles and responsibilities do not matter as much as results: a developer may test, perform analysis or think about requirements; an analyst or domain expert can suggest ideas about implementation, and so on.

But collaboration is key to blend expertise. This is hard when everyone is used to being a ‘deferred to’ expert so everyone tries to lead and be right.
According to VersionOne, the top three reasons for agile project failure are:

  • Inadequate experience with agile methods
  • Little understanding of the required broader organizational change
  • Company philosophy or culture at odds with agile values

If you are responsible for multiple teams and the company expects results despite the rapidly shifting environment, then you will want to be able to diagnose what isn’t working fast so you can get your teams fully functioning.

A few years ago, the idea that you could pinpoint or diagnose ‘what’ was causing the problem, not ‘who’ was the problem, just wasn’t possible.

But today you can use analytics. Lucky for the team members, you can diagnose issues in a blame-free way so that new learning is absorbed and applied and no time is wasted pointing fingers. (Did you ever notice that a single finger pointing leaves 3 more pointing back at you?)

There are Six Proven Key Indicators…

… that will tell you how well your teams are functioning.

  • Communication
  • Feedback & Feedforward
  • Structures
  • Emotional Intelligence
  • Accountability
  • Cohesion

 

Like the Gallup Organization’s strengths finder, Vivo Team has invested 20 years in testing these indicators on about 10,000 teams. As experts in behavioral sciences, we’ve demonstrated to team leaders from around the world how to make critical changes that inspire hearts and minds.

Are Your Agile Teams Ready To Make It Easier On Themselves?

Vivo team’s motto is: “Prescription without diagnosis is management malpractice.” If you want consistent (and real) results you have to know where you’re starting from.

Take our quick Quiz to get a reading on your agile team’s skill levels in the six key indicators. You should take it yourself first. Remember, what you’re not aware of you can’t improve. Then have your leaders take it. Follow the prompts – takes about 3 minutes to complete.
Within 30 seconds you will receive your results directly into your email.
What you discover could reverse course on where you’re heading today.

What You’ll Discover

Let’s Look at some typical results from our people analytics tool and the success that team leaders achieve from our Executive Leadership Training Program.

Like your business, our example company is growing at breakneck pace. They have a super experienced and very senior agile team working on a very high priority project.

Despite their collective competence, as a team, they were floundering.
You may be surprised to learn that this company’s disappointing and expensive experience is typical, as the statistics on agile teams success are now proving. Agile teams are extremely hard to navigate.

Using the data we received from the survey taken by all team members this is what was revealed. (When you take the quiz, your results will be revealed in a similar reporting format below).

In each of the six key indicators team members respond to statements that, from their perspective, indicate how well – or not – the team is functioning.

Looking at the legend, a scoring in the BLUE ZONE 80+ means that the team is healthy and functioning well. They are adept at using the six key indicators to move through their challenges together in the project.

A score in the GREY ZONE 65-79 indicates that the team is functioning well yet still needs to pay attention – they could become “de-skilled” if a stressor or change of direction was suddenly introduced into the team. What rapidly growing company doesn’t have to adapt on a dime?

Scoring in the RED ZONE -64 or lower means the team is low functioning, team members are stressed, possibly they are off track and that there is a ‘dis-engagement’ issue.

But the news gets worse. Our algorithm calculates the team’s efficiency (57%) and the effect of their behavior expresses as a Cost of Lost Productivity. Despite their brilliance, this team is losing $743,040 annually in productivity, not to mention the internal team stresses and conflicts, which have personal health costs.

These experts were over-working to the point of exhaustion to make up for their inability to build structures and team cohesion amongst themselves.
Structures are about having the skills and processes in place that result in highly productive meetings. Team cohesion is the ability and willingness of a team to pull together to reach the goal.

This team traveled a lot and were based in different locations.

Knowing that the company is losing $743,040 per year in lost productivity and will likely see an increase in health costs due to stress, what effect would this awareness have on you as a leader?

When this company discovered which indicators were causing their problems, they took action.

We Wove Our Solution Into the Flow of the Team’s Workday

We showed them how to individually and collectively respond to their stressors in new and more productive ways. We delivered 16, sixty-minute, weekly online, live, facilitated, video-based coaching sessions, plus a series of live, online 1-to-1 coaching sessions with each member of the team.

What Materialized? Success We Can Measure

Here are the results from their second Vital Statistics Report ™

Vivo Team helped this burdened team reclaim their Cost of Lost Productivity for an ROI of 56.5%.

All team leaders provided direct feedback and with the encouragement of the CEO, even the resistant bought in.

This team reported that their meetings became more efficient, the conflicts between members were significantly reduced, a couple of the members who weren’t talking to each other at the beginning were now having more respectful, useful conversations with each other. As a result team members felt relieved of some of the stress.

Collaboration and cohesion are emerging on the team as they demonstrate the engagement of the “I’s” pulling together to power the “WE.”

The work continues.

Take the quiz. If you want to discuss the results please call us at 778-734-0444.

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