As a project crisis manager, I see a lot of agile teams struggling. In most cases, the primary reason is not that they don't understand the agile approach or are not mastering the technological issues. In most cases, the team members don't have a shared understanding of their mission and are not actively managing the relationships with their stakeholders.
Facing these problems again and again, I have started two years ago to research and to create a solution designed to help teams from the beginning to
- develop an aspiring and resilient team identity
- discover the needs and perception of all project stakeholders
- focus the team on actively co-creating the product with the project stakeholders
- enable the team to lead a productive dialog among the team members and the stakeholders
- discover your teams strenght and learn how to leverage it for future success
- analyse the project risks through a dynamic and higly interactive scenario building excercise
- develop simple guiding principles and empower the team to self-direct itself while developing in sync with the stakeholder demands
To create this solution, I have combined the theoretical background of high performance teams and the StrategicPlay approach. High Performance teams are focusing equally on the inside and on the outside of the team and are using a staged approach to move from exploring to creating to rollout. This is the result of an extensive study on team effectiveness by Deborah Ancona and Henrik Bresman presented in the book "X-teams: How to Build Teams That Lead, Innovate and Succeed"
. The StrategicPlay approach is designed to enable teams to get a physical grip on complex situations and develop a shared understanding of the situation and explore adaptable and even unconventional solutions for them. Combining a systematic process of group creativity with Lego Models supports the team to develop a joint language and an overview of the stakeholders, their needs and demands and relationships among them and with the team.
This concept is packaged into an intense two-day workshop which should be done in the early days of the project or can be used to refocus an existing team.
During the workshop the team works along the following questions:
- How will the the ultimate success of this team look like?
- How will we know, that the team is successful?
- What are our ressources helping us to make the success happen?
- What else do we need, to make it happen?
- Who is influenced by us, who influences us? What is important for them? What are the relationships?
- What situations, conflicts, chances could emerge in this system?
- What should we do?
- What are the principles guiding our future decisions?
As all team members are analyzing the situation, creating solutions and deciding based on a shared understanding, this enables this group of peoples to work together as a true self-directed team and master the project.