schedule Oct 15th 04:15 - 05:00 PM place Tiered Classroom people 6 Interested

Struggling to fit your Agile team into one room for ceremonies? Daily stand-up meetings dragging on? Finding it harder to keep the whole team informed? It might be time to split into the three- to nine-person teams the Scrum Guide recommends for better communication, collaboration and decision making. But abruptly changing the team structure can disrupt the larger group's dynamic and culture, and by breaking existing lines of collaboration, hurt the sense of team and organizational unity that already exists. By sharing our experience working with a large team at a non-profit client, we will illustrate the challenges that can face an Agile transformation when a team already has a culture of collaboration worth preserving. The lessons learned from our story will highlight not just the principles for nurturing Agility in a team's culture, but also specific strategies we used to overcome challenges and ensure the journey was one all our teams could embark on together.

 
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Outline/Structure of the Experience Report

This session is primarily an experience report with some interactive discussion mixed in. The talk portion is organized around telling the story of a team within the IT department at a non-profit client. The story follows their journey from beginning as a large team of about 25 people, through the formation of 3 smaller Kanban teams and the growing pains and impact to larger team identity that followed that transition, and concludes with the improvements the teams made to balance the need for small, focused teams while still protecting their larger team identity and ensuring high levels of teamwork and collaboration across all parts of the division.

  • Warm-Up
    • Small group discussion: What size is your current team? What's the smallest and largest team you've been a part of?
  • Act 1: We're going to be Agile, so smaller teams, right?
    • Set the stage - the team's current state when we entered
      • Existing IT organization of about 20 developers, BAs, testers, project managers
      • Well-established existing group identity, relationships and styles of working (many relationships in place for 10-20+ years)
    • How we got started
      • First team as pilot, two more teams later
      • Looking for benefits: ease of communication, collaboration, decision making, increase focus for each person and team to a smaller number of projects at a time
  • Act 2: What happened to being part of the same "team"?
    • Some more background
      • The department has worked hard in the past to emphasize that they were 1 team
      • Creating small teams within the larger team wasn't intended to change this, but...
    • Encountered unexpected issues
      • Perception that there was an “A team” given the best work
      • Perception that teams were discouraged from working together
      • Less identification with “big picture” of the organization
      • Not enough sharing of lessons learned across teams
    • Small group/pair discussion:
      • What challenges have you encountered when team composition has changed?
  • Act 3: Small teams working within a 1 team identity
    • When it started to change
      • Impact on overall team was raised as a top priority at a quarterly overall team retrospective by all 3 smaller teams
      • Recognition that team identity is important and that the larger "team" had existed for much longer than the smaller, Agile teams
    • Steps to help resolve challenges
      • Created a release board to share relevant info across all teams
      • Held communities of practice, beginning with areas that had the most potential benefit: BA, developer
      • Quarterly retrospective with the whole team (Leads with teams sharing the most effective actions they’ve taken from their own retros, focus on resolving a common concern, make big decisions that impact the whole group together)
      • Management plays a role (Keep teams focused on common goal, address misperceptions)
      • Social events (E.g. potluck lunch, ice cream social, volunteering opportunities, celebrate successes of the entire organization)
  • Wrap Up
    • Team identity is really important and can exist at multiple levels
    • Need to be aware of how changes to team size and membership can impact existing team dynamics, culture, identity, etc.
    • Important: listen to your teams! (What issues are arising? How are these issues manifesting? What does the team want to do to address them?)
    • What works for one team might not work for another – but give them the opportunity to own the change
    • What we'd try next time: self-selection exercise

Learning Outcome

  • Tradeoffs in smaller vs. larger teams
  • Potential challenges to be aware of when standing up smaller teams within a larger one
  • Principles to guide you when cultivating cross-team awareness
  • Specific strategies for improving cross-team relationships and maintaining large team identity

Target Audience

ScrumMasters, Team Members, Managers, Stakeholders

Prerequisites for Attendees

None

schedule Submitted 1 year ago

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