This story of self-discovery traced the journey of a team of geographically dispersed and culturally diverse people. He highlighted how they discovered hidden barriers to creating a better working environment for their team. They reached a “ha” moment that helped two distant groups get involved and work as a team. Their layout was formally integrated into the team`s culture, with a series of working agreements linking them together. The following table summarizes what I learned as a coach. If I share my story, I hope it will inspire others to realize that the process of creating work agreements has uncovered opportunities for collaboration and guidance that have helped a distributed team deliver better value. Please note that if I cannot disclose the name of the company, I can only report that it is a financial services company based in Texas. The names of all parties have been changed to protect privacy. Let`s start with the definition: work agreements are standards or guidelines developed by a team to improve their interactions for superior performance and create a common language. In practice, these agreements define the expectations of groups, define paths of cooperation and create the atmosphere necessary for sensitive and psychologically safe work. The main factor in developing a team work agreement is identifying the challenges your team faces.
Introduce yourself with unique collaborative challenges for your team, then focus on solving those issues. Work agreements describe positive behaviours that are fundamental but often not automatically demonstrated in team processes. An agreement could be, for example: “We all agree to participate fully.” Agreements are the group`s instrument of power. The elements of the labour agreement should be made public throughout the team process. The team establishes all individual agreements in the employment contract and places them on the team wall. In the months that followed, team members began to get used to the idea of reminding their colleagues of behaviours that did not comply with the agreement. All the sprint pairs ask Steve in a retrospective: “Is this still our employment contract? Is there anything you want to change? The list will be expanded when team members find more areas where they will see benefits. After six months, they are much better able to deal with tense problems within the team, or when the external pressure on them increases.
Save often and keep in mind that agreements can always be renegotiated, especially when new members join or situations change. Each new team has a strong dynamic, with individuals preferring a certain mix of behaviors and practices. Respect your uniqueness! If you opt for a team work agreement, the most important thing is to make sure that your team is fully involved in the whole process. Make sure it is addressed to all “itchy” or uncomfortable topics and that the agreement is placed in a place that is easily accessible to the team. My name is Alex and I was a project manager in a previous life. I successfully transitioned to the agile world in 2009 and never looked back. I appreciated the speed and adaptability of the work at Agile depending on the complexity and inertia of the waterfall.