Agile practices are very important for agile teams. With these ceremonies, our teams achieve their goals, plan a sprint, and even continuous improvement due to retrospectives. But what is true and you may not notice before is that agile ceremonies increase the culture of trust in our teams. This is an important value that helps our team perform with engagement and good communication. But how agile ceremonies help my team to be more trustworthy?
This article is based on the case study: “Agile Practices: The Impact on Trust in Software Project Teams” 3 case studies of agile teams highlight how agile practices can enhance trust among agile team members while also generating new challenges for such teams.
“Agile practices such as iteration planning, daily standups, and retrospectives help foster that trust.”
How a culture of trust improves Agile teams.
Status Transparency and Visibility
When the team can be aware of progress with the daily standup, it is easier to notice if the team is going to achieve the sprint’s goal. If the team can be aware of the way they are performing, the possibility to *address problems once it has been noticed or the possible delays that the team express during meetings can be addressed easier and quick.
“The QA and PO have the opportunity to influence task prioritization, raise problems easily, and receive a timely response. From a QA perspective, the development team and POs were aware of testing requirements and set their expectations accordingly”
Accountability and Collective Responsibility
The possibility that teammates interact between them and create a trust to help each other is possible when team members “possess the knowledge, competence, and integrity to complete their assigned tasks”.
What does that mean? If the team with lack of trust notices that some member never fulfills their tasks and how the members are taking care of their obligations will provoke a decrease in trust; but if the team is accountable and trust exists around their environment, even if a member doesn’t fulfill the task, the team won’t perceive this as a non-compliance. They will look for the problem and finish the task together. But when the team interacts feeling the support from their team, it is more possible that members feel responsibility and pressure to finish the work with the time and features established.
“The accountability and collective responsibility in agile methods nurture trust by facilitating vigilance, aligning members’ perceptions realistically with individual competencies and abilities, fostering a sense of benevolence through team solidarity, and enhancing perceived integrity through a demonstrated shared work ethic”
Leadership is not the same if we are talking about agile teams. Leadership shifted to be the responsibility of all the team. This is why the manager needs to increase the support and to give the autonomy that the teams need to keep performing with their own leadership, but at the same time with the same goals.
Open and Frequent Team Communication
As agile practices need communication and interactions, your team will have another safe space to keep interacting and increasing the team’s trust.
Even if you are trying to work remotely, agile practices are essential to increase good communication between members. “The daily participation of distributed team members helped build trust” and this is possible with agile ceremonies like daily standup. With agile practices, you can give enough time to your team to ask for and receive a quick answer where all members can give their opinion and find better solutions together.
“The PO can quickly ascertain whether team members are knowledgeable and competent to deliver on what they promise, which increases trust through goodwill and more realistic perceptions of the team members’ individual abilities.”
Developers Accessibility to the PO
The relationship between the team and the Product Owners also have benefits with agile practices. This is because the PO has the trust and the team’s support to ask members about requests and look for the team's opinion. Increasing spirit, and encouraging the team to do the same. Also, The team can feel the trust to ask for or refuse sudden tasks without problems and make the PO know that maybe including the new task can provoke more problems and delays.(Source)
Challenges and how to address it!
External Visibility on Project Tasks: Sometimes members feel threatened about how the other member thinks about their work. With visibility and correct communication explaining to some members why they chose a determined process of work can help your team to avoid this kind of misunderstandings; therefore good communication and trust.
Team Pressure: “Many team members said they felt extra pressure to complete a task within a specific timeframe once they had committed to the team that they would do so. They felt they were letting the team down if they weren’t able to complete the task on time. This pressure was entirely self-inflicted, but it might be consequent to the increased visibility of tasks and personal accountability to the team. A failure to deliver tasks might also demonstrate a lack of competence and thereby diminish trust between team members.” (Source)
The tendency to Underestimate Tasks: Sometimes the team’s spirit can decrease when the estimates were uncertain, and is a common problem with remote teams. Even though, the members don’t feel like this problem affects their trust and their work. SO don’t be sad if this happens with your team. Check this incredible tool that will help your team to make accurate estimations.
Agile practices help our teams in a lot of ways. If you are trying to increase the culture of trust with your team, agile practices can help you further than just some meetings. Agile practices are available for remote teams. Don’t let that some bad practices affect the culture of trust in your team, and check out tools!