Disciplined Agile


Effective team performance is determined by five factors.

Just as there are factors that help motivate individuals, there are dynamics that help motivate effective performance on teams. The most succinct description we’ve found comes from the results of a study within Google describing what they believe to be the five key dynamics of successful teams:

  1. Psychological safety. Team members need to feel free to take risks and share ideas without fear of recrimination. Disciplined Agile® (DA) team members have the responsibility to respect one another, have humility when they are interacting with others, run experiments, work collaboratively, share their skills and knowledge with others, and be receptive to learning new ideas and skills from others.
  2. Dependability. Team members must be able to count on one another. Everyone should work in a trustworthy, open, and honest manner. DA team members have the responsibility to work in a trustworthy way, fulfill their commitments, and provide information on time, even if the work is incomplete.
  3. Structure and clarity. The vision of the team, the roles and responsibilities of the people on the team, and the plans for how the team will work together must be clear. DA teams are self-organizing, albeit with appropriate governance to guide and enhance their efforts, an implication of which is that they are responsible for their own structure and bringing clarity to their own domain.
  4. Meaning of work. The team should be working on something that provides meaning to them. A solution delivery team will work on developing or configuring a solution that adds real value to their stakeholders; an enterprise architecture team will develop, support, and evolve a vision for their organization; and a data management team will support and evolve the information assets within the organization. Different teams with different goals will find different meanings—IT isn’t just about creating potentially shippable software.
  5. Impact of work. The work that a team does needs to matter, or as Dan Pink would say, the work needs to have purpose.

March 2022

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