How to Build a Winning Agile Team


Agile methodology can speed up the development progress of any software product with great efficiency and reduced risk. But to implement agile methods, you need to have a great delivery team who will adapt to the methodology and different agile practices.

How To Have A Winning Agile Team By Your Side

Today, we’re going to discuss how you can have an all-rounder, winning agile team by your side to take on any challenges during the development phase with the agile approach. But first, let’s start by knowing what an agile team means.

Definition of An Agile Team

An agile team consists of professional experts with the right knowledge for the flawless execution of different project tasks using the agile methodology.

An agile team understands the nature of any project thoroughly and comes with all the right resources to see the project to its completion. But since they are an “agile” team, they can execute projects faster than traditional software developer teams.

An agile team is also highly efficient in making the most of the available resources while cutting down additional processes, reducing both the cost and risk associated with software development projects.

Introduction To Agile Project Management Methodology

If you want to have an agile team, you must understand how agile project management methodology works.

This approach to software development divides the entire project into multiple phases. Each phase deploys different product iterations and continues improving on them until the desired result has been achieved.

Agile project management relies on customer feedback, and the priority of the entire procedure is to meet the customer’s demands and offer them as much as possible. Quality improvement is made by keeping customers and other stakeholders in the development loop.

Key Roles In An Agile Team

There are four key roles in an agile team. These are:

  1. Product Owner: The product owner discusses their vision and the stakeholder requirements with the development team.
  2. Scrum Master/ Team Leader: An important note: a scrum master isn’t always a team leader, which most people make a mistake in agile. The role of the team leader is to direct the team according to the needs of the product owner, while the scrum master coaches the team, along with the team leader and the product owner, on the practices of the agile scrum method.
  3. Development Team: The team consists of several professionals who perform different tasks associated with product development.
  4. Stakeholders: Stakeholders lay the foundation of the project with their feedback. Agile teams also keep them in the loop regularly by gathering their feedback and updating them on the status of development.

Standard Size of An Agile Team

A standard agile team consists of 5-9 members. This estimate excludes the product owner, scrum master, and stakeholders. When assembling an agile team, the goal is to keep the number as small as possible. But the number can increase based on the scope of the product.

Key Characteristics of An Agile Team Member

An agile team member must have the following three distinguishable characteristics.

1. Coping With Ambiguity

Working in an agile environment grants the team members flexibility. Managing oneself through ambiguity is an important skill in an agile team.

Ambiguity helps the team member focus on the priorities only rather than wasting time on the detail of every individual thing.

2. Prioritizing Outcomes Over Processes

A good agile team member must understand that the development process can change at any moment. If a project only focuses on processes, the team becomes less welcoming to accepting changes.

When every team member focuses on the outcome rather than the process as a whole, the project can become more flexible and improve.

3. Contributing To A Team Environment

In agile, the team takes ownership of the product as a unit. They have to operate and communicate as a team to make the most of their development efforts. When the whole team moves as a unit rather than independent pieces, they show better productivity, improving the work environment.

Steps To Create An Epic Agile Team

Now that you understand how agile teams work let’s build our legendary agile team!

Step #1: Start With The Right Mindset

Your perfect team will not assemble itself overnight. Your team starts with you, so you must get into the right mindset before starting. With a broader mindset, you can reach each teammate with the right approach.

When you maintain agile culture with your mindset with every team member, you form bonds with everyone and can learn more about them. This brings us to the next point.

Step #2: Find Out The Strong And Weak Points of Each Teammate

Not every team member will always be an all-rounder. Each team member has their own set of strengths and weaknesses. It’s up to you to find out each of them and assign tasks that will suit them.

Step #3: Make Everyone Aware of Their Roles

In a project, the overall progress can halt when each member doesn’t know their role. Each team member has roles and responsibilities, and it’s up to you to ensure everyone understands them accordingly.

The roles may vary depending on the course of the project, but there are general roles that every agile team member can take on to progress.

Step #4: Learning From Mistakes Is Okay

An agile team brings people from multiple walks of life with different expertise sets. Though everyone can communicate and bring their workflow into the same alignment, there will always be mistakes.

But mistakes can always pave the way towards learning new things. Promoting the idea of learning from each mistake can bring up innovative solutions that can increase the pace.

Step #5: Team Communication Is A Must

Whether your team is following the agile methods or not, communication between individual team members is necessary. The project scope in an agile project can change during any development phase, so all team members should be allowed maximum flexibility.

When the team has proper communication in place, the work progress stays in constant alignment, and it’s easy for one team member to pick up work where the other one has left off.

Communication also promotes transparency, which can promote better collaboration.

Step #6: Involve Your Team In Everything

When the whole team can provide their input in a free environment, it increases the team morale and speeds up progress. Make each team member feel like their opinions matter.

That way, you can always have new, unique ideas and input to help each team member learn something new.

Step #7: Promote Open Feedback Culture

The goal of any agile team is to complete an assigned project as quickly as possible. You must lead your team in the right direction as the team organizer. The best way to take it is to promote an open feedback culture.

When each teammate can freely share their feedback, it leads to faster detection and solution of problems during a sprint. Each sprint can become more efficient with open feedback system, and the project can be completed without any major hiccups in no time.

Benefits of Working With An Agile Team

If the benefits were not convincing enough, here are ten reasons why you should work with an agile team.

1. The Team is Self-Organized

You cannot always focus on every little detail, and that’s perfectly fine. When you have a self-organizing team, the team can sort itself out without your constant scrutiny.

The first few stages of team development are more chaotic, and a self-organized team can save you the hassle.

In agile, the teams are always self-organized and can prevail with high-quality results.

2. You Get A Goal-Oriented Team

In agile, the team always has their eyes set on the final goal: a complete product with full functionality. With a goal-oriented approach, every team member can make the most of their professional expertise and implement all of it on the project.

3. The Team Is Always Willing To Learn And Improve

Though agile team members come in with pre-existing skill sets and expertise, they always welcome learning new things through overcoming challenges. Without continuous improvement, no professional can reach better goals, and people with an agile mindset focus on this idea more.

That way, you have a team of people ready to learn anything new to take their work to the next level.

4. Your Team Comes With Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence is when team members don’t let their feelings get in the way of work. But at the same time, they use their emotions, compassion, and empathy to build bonds with other team members.

Better progress is guaranteed when the team members are in sync emotionally and professionally.

5. Entire Team Is Full of Productive Team Members

If you have a team who loves doing what they are doing, they will put their heart and soul into it to make the best of their efforts. In an agile team, experts gather together to work on something because they love their work.

Passion may not always seem practical, but passionate team members can bring higher productivity levels to the project.

6. The Team Continuously Develops T-Shaped Skills

The term “T-Shaped Skills” is a metaphor used to describe the qualities of a professional agile team member. In agile, the team is always learning new things, so they always develop and improve their existing skills while learning new ones.

The additional expertise can bring the project unique perspectives and more efficient completion methods.

7. The Team Collaboration Is Awesome

This reflects the emotional intelligence part. You have a team on your hands who already have a great bond, and they are always in sync with each other through constant communication. The team is always collaborating on every section of work.

When the whole team is in sync, productivity knows no bounds.

8. The Team Has Unspoken Agreements

Each agile team has its unspoken agreement where the team already knows who will do a certain task or a set of tasks. When the team has a common understanding, traditional task assignment takes a backseat.

In agile, the team members agree on their roles and responsibilities and all the additional tasks they will take on throughout the project.

9. They Prefer To Succeed As A Team, Not As An Individual

One ambitious team member is enough to spoil an entire project with their focus on shining individually. A truly agile team member never focuses on shining individually. Rather, they focus on shining as a team.

When the whole team shines together, the project takes top priority, and the whole development team sees the project to completion.

10. The Team Creates A Perfect Harmony

A good agile team is like a good band. They know when to produce music, and they know when to stop. The silence makes as much sense as the music, creating perfect harmony.

When you nurture your scrum team the right way to create said perfect harmony, the team will always come up with the best results they can produce.

To Wrap It All Up

Agile teams are a surefire way to win in the current software development market. At Impala Intech, we practice what we preach and believe in it too.

Want to start working with an agile team to create your dream product? Contact us today!

How important is communication in an Agile team?

With proper communication, the entire team can stay in perfect sync to ensure higher success and finish the project faster. Team communication is the most important factor for any agile team.

What role does leadership play in building an Agile team?

Proper leadership can nurture each team member to be their best and bring their utmost efficiency to the table. They can also take their team in the right direction with the right work methodologies and practices.

How do I ensure accountability within an Agile team?

You can ensure accountability within your agile team by holding regular meetings and with resource reports that the team will submit at regular intervals.

How do you establish clear goals and expectations for an Agile team?

When you share and describe your business goals and product requirements, your team understands what they need to do to achieve success. That way, the team has its goals and expectations set clearly.

How do you ensure that your Agile team stays motivated and engaged?

Team-building exercises are very important at any time, and it applies more to agile teams. In a high-paced and constantly adapting team, engaging in all kinds of recreational and motivational activities is important to maximize team morale and keep them engaged.