The isolation of development and maintenance teams is a common source of tension and bottlenecks. When teams work in isolation, cycle times increase and business value decreases. Recently, leading software developers have learned to overcome isolation through communication and collaboration, but rebuilding teams is a more difficult task. How to work together when changing traditional behavior and interaction?
Answer: stages of development of groups according to Tuckman
In 1965, psychologist Bruce Tuckman published a study “Developmental Sequence in Small Groups” about the dynamics of the development of small groups. In order for the group to be able to generate new ideas, interact, plan and achieve results, he highlighted the importance of four stages of development: formation, conflict, rationing and functioning.
On the stage forming The group defines its goals and objectives. Team members rely on safe interpersonal behavior and determine their boundaries of interaction. On the stage conflict (storming) group members discover different work styles and build trust by sharing their opinions, which often leads to conflicts. On the norming stages the group comes to a resolution of their differences and begins to form a team spirit and cohesion. Team members understand that they have common goals and that they must work together to achieve them. On the stages of functioning (performing) the team achieves goals, functions independently and independently resolves conflicts. Team members support each other and are more flexible in their roles.
How to strengthen agile teams
When isolation is removed, group members often begin to feel confused due to a sudden cultural shift. Leaders should prioritize team building so that a destructive culture does not arise in which team members do not trust and do not support each other. The application of the four stages of Tuckman in the formation of teams can improve the dynamics.
When forming an agile team, it is important to pay attention to strengths and skills. Team members should complement each other, but not duplicate, since an agile team is a cross-functional team in which each of the participants shows their strengths to achieve a common goal.
After eliminating disunity, leaders must model and define the behavior that they want to see in the team. Team members will contact the leader, such as the Scrum Master, for guidance and guidance. It is typical for group members to focus solely on their work, rather than looking at the group as a single structure working to achieve the goal. The Scrum master should help team members develop a sense of community. After the implementation of an idea or sprint, the scrum master must assemble a team, conduct a retrospective and understand what went well and what didn’t, and what can be improved. Team members can set goals together and help develop team spirit.
As soon as the group members begin to see team members in each other, they begin to express their opinion, which can cause conflicts. Individuals can blame others, so the goal at this stage is to develop trust, communication and cooperation.
The Scrum Master is responsible for assisting team members in resolving conflicts, mitigating stressful situations, and training in work processes. He should calm, resolve conflicts and help the team stay productive. By fixing decisions in documents, striving for transparency and visibility, and also collaborating in finding solutions, teams can create a culture in which experiments are welcomed, and failures are seen as an opportunity to gain new knowledge. Team members should still feel safe, even when expressing opinions different from others. The focus should be on continuous improvement and finding solutions, not disputes.
The transition from conflict to normalization for many agile teams can be difficult, but once this transition is complete, the emphasis is on empowerment and useful work. Having learned to resolve conflicts at the previous stage, the team is able to perceive disagreements and consider problems from different points of view.
Retrospectives after each sprint should become a ritual. In retrospect, you need to take the time to plan effective work. Scrum master and other leaders should give feedback to team members, and team members should give feedback on work processes. At this stage of development, members of the group see themselves as part of a team working to achieve common goals. There is mutual trust and open communication. The team works together as a whole.
At this stage, the team is motivated and interested in expanding its tasks. Now the team is functioning autonomously and management should take on a supporting role, focus on lifelong learning. As teams strive to improve, they are able to identify bottlenecks, communication barriers, and obstacles to innovation.
At the moment, the team is fully formed and productive. Team members successfully work together and communicate, they have a clear identity and vision. The team works efficiently and accepts changes.
When changing teams or changing leadership, teams may feel insecure and go through one or more of these stages repeatedly. Applying these techniques to your team, you can support its growth and development, helping them to maintain agile — methodology and culture.