This post is inspired by this article by Derek Huether - https://medium.com/@derekhuether/stable-teams-should-be-non-negotiable-59af0972f77
His is the sort of the position I used to have. However, I’ve been rethinking my position over the last few years. Not that I’m moving away from honoring the team. I’ll always do that.
But I’ve started to think that a little adversity isn’t necessarily bad for a team.
I want to use this post as an update to my writings about agile teams. The following post best captures my thoughts – http://rgalen.com/agile-training-news/2018/3/5/stop-norming-performing
Back to Derek’s point
Derek makes 3 key points in the article:
Teams that stay together are more productive. (more stories)
Teams that stay together are more predictable. (higher throughput)
Teams that say together are more responsive. (less time in process)
And he supports those conclusions with data from Larry Maccherone while he was with Rally/CA and reviewing data collected through their tooling. Another key point Derek makes is against the frequent reorganizations that run rampant in many companies. That they undermine all three aspects.
I’m not going to challenge the data or Derek’s key point. Let’s assume that everything is right. That we want to focus on team productivity. However, I think there are things to consider equally (and perhaps even more importantly) than productivity.
For example, what about these intangibles:
Team creative problem solving?
Team ideation around customer needs?
Team diversity of ideas?
Teams ability to handle adversity or turbulence?
Teams ability to handle distractions?
Teams ability to handle new types of work?
While I don’t have the mature and seasoned data that Larry provided, I contend that a sole focus on stability might undermine some of the above. And that, in some contexts, creativity might be even more important than productivity. Or that diversity of the team and their solutions, might also prove impactful and valuable. And that a team that can handle a bit of chaos and adversity might become a stronger, more cohesive team.
Of course, I get the importance of TEAM STABILITY in agile contexts. But good teams get better when they face a little adversity. Adversity like:
A bit of member change
A bit of diversity
A bit of turbulence and pressure
A bit of leadership change
A bit of chaos
A bit of making mistakes and failure
Point being, I don’t think you have to handle agile teams with “kids gloves”. They can handle challenges and change. And they, or at least the good ones, should be able to come out the other side better than they were before.
Especially if we’re focusing on the team going beyond pure predictability.
Stay agile my friends,
You might also want to follow-up on the following blog posts also focus on the dynamics of agile teams: