Key Enablers for Enterprise Agility: Team dynamics and structuring

February 2019
By Ankit Tandon, People & Organisation Senior Manager, PwC Malaysia

 

Agility (the ability to move quickly and nimbly) is clearly not a luxury in today’s ever changing VUCA (Vulnerable, Uncertain, Complex, Ambiguous) world but an essential for survival. Organisations do not win because they are agile but they can lose because they lack agility.

An organisation can only move as fast as the sum of its teams. Any organisational transformation programme is like a car engine. No matter how powerful and optimised the engine is, if the wheels do not have enough air pressure, are worn out or do not sync well with other wheels, the car would never be able to reach its destination with the desired stability, speed or efficiency.

Enabling enterprise agility comprises four essential components: team dynamics and structuring, right culture, work intake management and outcome measurement. These elements are part and parcel of your journey to scale transformation across multiple teams and functions. They may pose some challenges to your business along the way, so how do you turn them into opportunities? 

In this blog, the second of our Enabling Agility series, we will discuss ‘Team dynamics and structuring’.

How do you structure your team for great performance?

There are good teams and then there are great teams. Here’s what differentiates a great team from a good team.

  Good vs great Agile teams      What makes great Agile teams stand out
Harnessing values and frameworks for innovation
  • Good Agile teams breathe Agile values and principles. They follow prescriptive frameworks.
  • Great Agile teams understand how Lean principles connect to Agile and how to marry both. They are framework agnostic (they adapt and use various frameworks as and when needed).

Great Agile teams also focus on Lean principles like limiting ‘work-in-progress’, eliminating waste, building quality, and making all of them a part of their Agile way of working.

They also follow a multi-framework pragmatic approach tailored to an organisation’s unique culture, goals and issues. They break the rules and move beyond the scope of any particular framework whenever needed.

Getting the most out of people and processes
  • Good Agile teams rely on specified roles to perform certain tasks. They focus on ensuring everyone in the team is optimally utilised.
  • Great Agile teams are empowered to share responsibilities and make decisions. They ensure work items are optimally progressing.

Great Agile teams do not wait for the Product Owner to write user stories1 or the Scrum Master to remove impediments for them. They are empowered to do whatever is best for the team (whether it’s solving an issue that is setting the team back, or facilitating meetings).  

Flow efficiency is valued over resource efficiency. Some idle time is preferred and utilised for improvement of existing work, to learn new skills or help the team improve their productivity and performance.

Team Structuring
  • In Good Agile teams everyone blends in
  • In Great Agile teams people have diverse perspectives

Great Agile teams go beyond the usual Gender diversity to include diversity types such as age, culture, ethnicity, thinking styles. They value people with their own unique perspective.

Diversity in a team promote better perspectives.

Setting goals and learning
  • Good Agile teams maximise outputs. They always achieve their sprint goals. 
  • Great Agile teams maximise outcomes. They don’t mind failing. 

Great Agile teams focus on maximising outcomes, not outputs, i.e. not the number of ‘likes’ on social media or story points delivered but the actual increase in sales and customers retained.

They stretch, try new things and occasionally fail. They push their own boundaries and consistently set a new bar for themselves.

Building skills
  • Good Agile teams have T-shaped skills.2
  • Great Agile teams have Pi-shaped skills.3

Great Agile teams look beyond T-shaped skill sets to develop each team members’ expertise in two areas (to build Pi-shaped skills). This produces more well-rounded and nimble team members.

 

Maintaining quality
  • Good Agile teams focus on thorough testing at the end of the cycle.
  • Great Agile teams focus on building quality right from the start.

Great Agile teams do not test their product/services as an afterthought to find defects. They approach each project with a mind-set on building quality.

 

Continuous Improvement
  • Good Agile teams focus on Single loop learnings. 
  • Great Agile teams focus on Double loop learnings.

Great Agile teams strive to improve by not only changing practices or actions (single loop learning), but also by changing underlying beliefs, norms and policies (double loop learning).

 

 

In a nutshell, to bring an organisation to its destination, it is critical to have teams that are able to work together seamlessly, operate autonomously and make quicker turnaround decisions to meet the changing needs of customers. Stay tuned for our next blog where we will take you through another critical enabler for Enterprise Agility – ‘Having the Right Culture’.
 

Got questions?

How agile is your organisation? How do you build great Agile teams? What organisation ecosystem needs to be in place to enable agility? How do you balance scaling Agility with predictability and visibility? Come and chat with us.

 

Note:
1. User stories is an Agile approach that shifts the focus from writing about requirements to talking about them. User stories are written as a series of conversation in a few short sentences from the customer’s perspective about the desired functionality.
2. People with T-shaped skills have depth in one area and breadth in more areas. People with I-shaped skills have expertise in only one area.
3. People with Pi-shaped skills have depth in a couple of areas and breadth across the board.

 

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Contact us

Rosanna Bruzzichessi

Director, People & Organisation, PwC Malaysia

Tel: +60 (3) 2173 1515

Ankit Tandon

Senior Manager, People & Organisation, PwC Malaysia

Tel: +60 (3) 2173 0123

Thariq Ziad Adnan

Consulting Director, PwC Malaysia

Tel: +60 (3) 2173 1377

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