Teamwork in business is nothing new. Actually, seeing a team come together to achieve a successful outcome is a true sight to behold. Unfortunately, teams are often plagued with delays and dependencies and tend to fumble toward an outcome that is only painfully realized, and sometimes not at all. To help eliminate stagnation, the agile methodology utilizes cross-functional work teams. When organized and managed correctly, agile work teams have much to offer businesses.
The Importance of work teams for companies
Agile was originally developed to improve the process of software development. Now, companies are embracing the non-linear methods of the agile philosophy to manage other projects. The struggle with work teams often become apparent when teams are put on hold, awaiting the work of another team or approval of some kind. With agile work teams, these delays are no longer a problem.
Using outcomes to drive autonomous work teams
Work teams create autonomous groups of experts working toward a common goal. Outlining outcomes as a starting point and allowing work teams to develop the steps it takes to get there creates a seamless process. Work teams are in the trenches. They understand what needs to happen to produce an effective product and they usually have a greater understanding of what customers want to see. Because the work team is also in control of outlining the process, unnecessary steps are eliminated, which reduces the time to market and allows non-critical team members to focus their efforts to other projects.
Removing dependencies from work teams leads to higher productivity
Agile teams are more efficient. One of the great benefits of a truly agile work team is the removal of dependencies. It’s a common complaint around offices: “I can’t get anything done until I hear from [enter other department],” or “I have everything ready, I’m just waiting on Bill to get the approval.”
Work teams remove these dependencies so that only essential team members are in control of delivering their portion of the project. No more holdups.
High-quality products result from work teams
Empowering teams to make decisions regarding end results is sometimes intimidating for organizations. But, it is important to remember that agile work teams are not without checks and balances. Work teams perform short sprints and own only a portion of an overall product, making it easy to make corrections along the way or roll back something that is unsuccessful. In fact, the term agile is derived from the adaptable nature of the overall process. Modifications are encouraged to continuously refine and improve the overall process.
Another benefit that often leads to improved results is the ability to identify exactly where gaps or delays are occurring. Because teams are assigned ownership of only one feature or chunk of the overall process, it becomes easier to pinpoint where deficiencies are happening.
Work teams make simple work of scaling
Most businesses are consistently directing their attention towards growth. Work teams make it simple to expand. As long as you continue to adhere to agile best practices, you can add teams to handle larger projects without affecting the other sections of a project. With autonomous teams, scaling is simply a matter of defining outcomes and gathering your team.