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Agile Practices and the “Revealed” Talents

Working Agile with Motivated People

Generally speaking, with increasing use of Agile techniques in the corporate world, more companies are using the available resources in the development of their products. For some, especially those involved in Agile, this statement may seem obvious. However, for others, this tide of agility is just a phase that will be replaced, as happens with the oceans, by another “tide” in accordance with new ways of product construction to come. Apologies and opinions aside, the inversely proportional concept of doing more using less will always be present in our daily lives, whether in business or in our daily routine. The preservation of natural resources, for example, is increasingly being discussed in upcoming generations, and it appears that the trend of this discussion will be maintained for an unspecified time.

In the routine of Agile teams, there are many situations such as, “If you use this Agile practice, it won’t solve your problem, but it will expose it in a clear and simple way for those involved. Then the solution will be shared by all of us.” The quoted phrase is an abridged adaptation of various real occurrences that happen in Agile projects during their life cycles. This situation of a “shared solution” fosters an environment conducive to the free expression of thought and opinions of all involved in the process of product development. The successful experiences of so-called “servant leaders” makes a strong impression in the business world about the rethinking “traditional leaders,” also known as “chiefs.”

In daily meetings of teams working with Agile, we realize various situations that favor the development of servant leadership and the appearance of “new” talents. What actually happens is that this phenomenon is very similar to the “exposure of a problem” previously mentioned. The talents have always existed, and Agile techniques help expose them in a positive way.

When project managers (Agile or not) and their teams identify skills previously hidden in the functional hierarchy, this may be a factor in the successful delivery of products related to the initial planning, with a trend to a better outcome between time and agreed cost. Another interesting occurrence is that disagreements are solved in meetings, often daily, enabling further integration of team members. Usually after discussions, the teams eventually come to an understanding of what will help the common goal, i.e., the deliveries in the life cycles of products. Thus for project managers, collaborations about the lessons learned become daily and at the right time, compiled for the intelligence of their own management. It is common in product development teams, for example, that there are collaborators too introspective or very extroverted. This plurality of personalities makes certain conflicts almost inevitable, but it is the responsibility of all staff to identify and respond to changes immediately.

Therefore, regardless of the labels used in the business world, communication is one of the key success factors in project management.

“He who excels at resolving difficulties does so before they arise.

He who excels in conquering his enemies triumphs before threats materialize.”

— Sun Tzu, The Art of War

During Agile development of products, the distribution of tasks usually occurs independently for the teams, which need to efficiently allocate effort according to the personal characteristics of each member. The most successful teams in this case are those that have the greatest freedom for division based on the skills of each member. The multidisciplinary concepts require strong interaction between professionals who have different kinds of professional experience. Contrary to what may seem obvious, the result is clear communication with greater fluency, natural integration with and without impositions.

Originally published on by Marcos Aurelio Paixao.

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