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Building Agile Team Trust Is How to Deliver Crazy Value

Building Agile Team Trust is critical to enabling the team
Building Agile Team Trust is fundamental to teamwork and Agile processes. In an Agile methodology, build up the trust to create high-performing teams. Here is why it is important to trust the team in Agile.

Trust is absolutely essential on Agile teams! It seems so obvious, yet so often there is a lack of trust. A lack of trust between team members. Sometimes trust is missing between the team and other teams or users and stakeholders. Trust is so critical to the team dynamic. Building Agile team trust on the Agile team is key to a successful team.

Agile software development is enabled by building Agile team trust. Trust in the relationships of team members and with those not on the team. Building Agile team trust enables collaboration, communication, allows people to do their work without interference, and even allows teams room to learn and grow. Building agile team trust allows and helps create high-performing teams with strong team relationships.

Table of Contents

What Do I Mean By Building Agile Team Trust

In Agile software development, the relationship between the Agile team and the business users, or stakeholders, is very important. Building trust in Agile is a relationship between the team and that group. The project team relies on this trust. Build up the trust and deliver more value.

Having trust with those in the process creates truly self-sufficient teams. Teams that can go and execute on work to meet goals. Which is critical to delivering products of value in your software projects. Building trust is all about fostering a relationship that helps the team deliver value. Trust enables many of the Agile practices.

Building trust in Agile also refers to members on the team. As team members are more able and likely to swarm on work, completing work collaboratively, when there are higher levels of trust.

For lack of a better term, there is no meddling in the work of the team. Allowing the team to focus. Interfering with this only slows down the delivery of business value. Lack of trust by the business users and stakeholders takes away from the self-sufficient team.


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Why Is Building Agile Team Trust Important

In agile teams, collaboration is a key building block of the way work is done. Collaboration between teams relies on trust between the teams. Team members have to trust that they can work together. Also, team members trust that they can understand what each other needs to do the job. Lastly, team members trust that they can deliver value together.

All of these things are part of the Agile approach and factor into the team meeting their deliverable outcomes or goals. They are a high-performing team, capable of executing on work and meeting the needs of their users and stakeholders.

Trust To Get Honest Feedback

Building trust in Agile is also an important factor in getting feedback. This is where the team gets feedback on work done from users and stakeholders. Using the Agile concept where you demo often to get valuable feedback from users, getting honest feedback relies on trust. The team is dependent on the users giving honest and critical feedback. The users must trust that the team can and will take action on that feedback.

This is more than just a continuous improvement item, based on feedback, for the team. It is really about how best to deliver on goals and meet business needs. You need honest and real user feedback to really deliver on those user needs. Thus getting that feedback for the team and letting them self-organize on it is crucial. Feedback loops go a long way toward delivering business value efficiently. Adopting those feedback loops in your systems development requires valuable interactions between team members and stakeholders. Those interactions require trust.

Building agile team trust allows team members to be upfront with each other. So keep in mind to help with trust on the Agile team.

Trust For Self Directed Work

Another aspect of trust is that teams will circle back to important work items. Oftentimes, desired changes cannot be made immediately. Business users must trust the team to come back to the work as prioritized. Team member engagement is often directly related to how trusted they feel. If they feel the trust to do their job, they feel more engaged.

Trust Required To Swarm

Swarming is a concept familiar to most Agile teams. This is where team members organize around the work, each taking pieces of the work, so the team can complete portions of the work simultaneously. This helps to deliver the work much more quickly. The opposite of this would be when team members all have their own, and separate, pieces of work. There is little collaboration and no shared work.

Swarming is a much more effective process, to deliver work more quickly. It requires trust between team members, to work on their portions of the work. Also though, to stay connected and understanding of other team members work, so it all will work together. Trust on the team enables the cross functional team to thrive, as they can work together to meet goals.

Fear Of Failure Stifles Creativity And Progress

The agile team is dependent on the innovation and creativity of its team to problem solve. In order to do that, the team must have trust that they will not be negatively judged, or punished, for work that ultimately does not meet needs. This is part of the process, as sometimes things fail as options. That cannot be known upfront. The agile team needs the freedom and the trust from their partners to be able to try solutions, to the best of their ability, without punitive actions.

Both sides need to experience this to help fully realize the potential in work and value delivered.

You must remember that trust is a 2-way street. Which, exists between the agile team and the business users. Both sides need to experience this to help fully realize the potential in work and value delivered. If one side is suffering from a lack of trust, both sides will see the impact.

Ideas To Help With Building The Trust In Agile

Work towards goals, instead of strict requirements. When you work towards goals, you can start to understand where the work needs to go and can start to answer some questions. Use this learning to work with business users, and enhance the collaboration on work. When you can show users that you have an understanding of their needs, it becomes easier to fill in information that you still need.

Foster collaboration and communication for the team. Remove communication impediments. Allow the team to work together, and they will build up their trust. The Product Owner, Scrum Master, or other Agile team leadership needs to let the team self organize around what they need. Not directing it, but simply helping to enable it. Evolving team member relationships to include more trust is slow, but worth the wait.

Lastly, you must remember that Agile is built upon cooperation and collaboration. Building agile team trust is not easy. It is complex and full of nuances for teams. But, building out that trust is well worth it. Trust between those involved is essential. Trust that you can always improve things by working together. Building agile team trust is something to work through, but creates truly enabled teams for software delivery.

Quality software cannot be built when teams can’t work together. This ultimately is a reason why it is important to trust the team in Agile. Development methods used by the teams are as only good as the principles and values practiced by the team. Empowered teams feel the ownership and build up better application development practices. Creating great software systems. Teams can’t feel collective ownership without trusting each other. Building Agile team trust is then so important to the success of the team.

Additional reading and ebooks for building agile team trust

Agile projects will continue to fail when there is a lack of trust on the team. Whether the team doing the work or trust with those interacting with the team. Trust is fundamental in an Agile environment. Build up the trust and make adopting Agile a priority for your team and culture. Trust on the team creates the best Agile development teams out there.

The following texts are good reads to help further with your software project. In an Agile software development process, they emphasize the need for feedback and tips for working in an agile method for the team.