Atern Principle 3 – Collaborate

Teams that work in a spirit of active cooperation and commitment will always outperform groups of individuals working only in loose association. But challenge anyone on any project team and they will probably tell you “Of course we collaborate”. But do they? Do you? Really?

Any team who say they are being agile will say they collaborate, but again, I ask – Really?

What we are aiming for is a team that performs better than the sum of its parts, one where everything – prioritisation, estimation, planning, development, testing – is done by the team. Together. That doesn’t mean that individual roles and skills disappear; they don’t. While teams will always have people with diverse skills – and they need them – it is getting these different skills and opinions together that helps the team as a whole perform better.

This ‘one team’ culture is the essential element of collaboration. To make it work, no individual should consider him/herself more important than any other. Even the Project Manager takes on a different role (more on this in a future post). If anyone has a prominent role, it is the Business Ambassador, for it is this role that needs to make the day-to-day prioritisation decisions on which the rest of the team depend. But even then, input from other people – Business Analyst and Advisors for example – will be needed before the team can plan, and commit to delivery.

So, to make this work, ensure no one in your team is making decisions alone (except the lowest level task decisions). Facilitated workshops are the tool for prioritisation, estimation and planning. The team agrees work priorities, the team estimates the work to be done, the team plans the work required and the team gets the job done.

* Involve the right stakeholders, at the right time throughout the project
* Ensure that team members are empowered to make appropriate decisions
* Actively involve all business representatives. Build their trust
* Build a one-team culture

Does your team collaborate effectively? Could Atern help you?

About aterny

Agile enthusiast and evangelist, DSDM practitioner, trainer and coach. Specialist in Agile project and programme management, governance and organisational transformation
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