Agile for Your Team's Well-Being? It's Not All Roses
Job stress continues to be a problem for individuals and the organizations that employ them. Contrary to popular opinion, studies show that the key factor is not the job itself, but rather the fit between the person and the environment. And this begs the question: If you change your environment to a more agile one, will that improve people’s well-being?
There has been precious little research on the subject, so what I’ll offer here are my interpretations and observations from 17 years of being around teams of all agile stripes.
How Agile Alleviates Stress
Let’s start by asking Lee, a persona that represents several people typical with whom I’ve interacted in healthy agile environments over the years.
“Lee, as a team member, what would you say about stress?”
“Our work is complex and there are changes all the time. With agile, we’re not anxious about getting it perfect the first time every time. Instead, our process helps us know just how much our work matters and what to adjust. With frequent delivery, our wins are not too far apart, and we catch errors quickly. That’s very satisfying.
“Then there’s the social aspect. I’m in a proper team delivering those results—to actual users! Not like when I was in a team of programmers, and our standard of completion was ‘
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