Creating successful agile teams at Agile 2017

Lessons from Agile 2017

“Effective teamwork looks like continuous mutual help, and often looks like people having fun.” – Esther Derby


With these words Esther Derby, an expert in organizational dynamics and thought leader in bringing agility to organizations, management and teams, launched her workshop at Agile 2017, “Creating an Environment for Successful Agile Teams”.  In true Agile fashion, we learned by doing. We formed teams at our tables to address specific challenges, we shared our backgrounds and our our experiences, we solved problems and in doing so created a joint experience. Here’s what I took away from that exercise:


Building a high-performing team isn’t easy!

We’ve all had experiences of being on teams.  Some of us have been fortunate enough to experience the “perfect storm” of a fabulous team that gets stuff done, seemingly without effort.  Probably more of us have experience with teams that didn’t quite gel, providing us with lots of great “learning experiences”. During this workshop, we embarked on a trip down memory lane, identifying the highlights and lowlights of our team experiences. And, of course, we worked as teams to glean what our diverse experiences had in common. We were on a quest to discover the holy grail of agile – just what is it that allows a great team to be born?


Collaboration is key!

As we worked through the various exercises and tasks of the workshop, we shared our individual experiences.  Everyone shared, everyone listened, everyone learned. It slowly dawned on me that we were creating a high functioning team right then and there.  Five people who didn’t know each other were coming together to meet a clearly defined, shared goal.  We were sharing our stories and finding common ground.  We worked independently, and needed the input and cooperation of all to reach our goal.  No one told us the answer, we discovered it through our collaboration. We were autonomous, empowered and self-directed.  We accomplished our goal and learned a lot by doing.


And yes, we had fun!

To learn more about creating effective agile teams read: Build Your Agile Business, The Sourcebook.


Elizabeth Schultheisz
Elizabeth is a highly experienced product marketer who loves to empower people with new ideas.…


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