Getting a new Agile team up and running, Part 1: The kick-off workshop
Aug 19, 2015 by Simon Petkov
One day you find out that you have to start a new team. It’s exciting, because you have a chance to begin from scratch and make a fresh start. However, it is not as easy as it looks.
According to Bruce Tuckman, there are 5 stages of group development: Forming, Storming, Norming, Performing and Adjourning.
The first one, the forming stage, represents the time when the group is just starting to come together and is characterized by anxiety and uncertainty. The focus for the group members during the forming stage is to become familiar with each other and their purpose, and not focus on work.
We can help an Agile team pass this stage faster by:
Here is an example of a general overview for a workshop, which can be ran to achieve these objectives.
Who should be there?
The entire team – every team member and contact from the business side. If someone cannot make it, then find a different date – it is very important that everyone has a say.
How much time do we need?
This workshop is usually about 5-6 hours long, depending on team size.
What can help and has to be done?
Running a training beforehand like this is beneficial. This kind of training introduces the team to agile terms and frameworks and helps everyone to be on the same page.
Here is how to run an agile simulation workshop:
Try to kick off the day with a short speech by someone who can talk about why it’s so important for everyone to be there.
Sometimes this is the Product Owner or someone senior in the company; it’s actually anyone who can provide adequate context and reasoning behind why the team is necessary for successfully building a product.
It is usually very inspiring and a nice way to start this workshop.
I do like the Market of skills activity. It focuses both on getting to know each other and the competencies of the individuals of the team.
Encourage team members to come up with a new team name and perhaps a team logo. New people feel more included in the team if they are involved in the team’s identity creation process.
The “agile ingredients” activity suits this purpose. Here’s how to do it:
Now it’s time to deal with the practical stuff, such as:
In addition, make sure that everyone is aware that this is just the beginning, and that everything can (and will) be revised later.
What can be done next?
After this workshop, your team will be ready for the following steps:
I’m sure his workshop doesn't answer all your questions, but it helps the team to:
All of this moves the team through the forming phase faster and allows the group to focus on their work.
In the next blog, I will share my experience of how you can help a team in the Storming phase.