Project Management

Maintaining a Motivated and Engaged Agile Team

Lin Rajan Thomas, PMP, CSM is a Sr. Program Manager with Perspecta (formerly Vencore). She has managed several contracts with federal agencies based in Washington, D.C. She has 16+ years of program/project management experience, specifically related to business intelligence and data management. She is a Certified Scrum Master and has previously worked for Salient Federal Solutions, ATSC, and Tata Consultancy Services. She has also contributed to the PMI Knowledge Shelf, Chicken Soup for the Soul, and is also an inspirational author.

In the last 19 years, the Agile Manifesto has guided and influenced the IT industry in an unprecedented manner. Executive management mostly sees a win-win situation with working software and happy customers. 

Teams, on the other hand, have mixed feelings about agile software development. With enterprise agile, DevSecOps and a fast-evolving technology landscape, there can be negative impacts to the team. Agile has also introduced a whole array of tools that track progress at the minutest detail, which can cause some resistance from team members. Complaints range from a perceived lack of clarity of requirements, rapidly evolving changes and increasingly crammed work spaces.

As a PM, maintaining a motivated team amid the challenges is of paramount importance. I have collected a few lessons learned from my experiences leading agile teams over the years and interacting with other interfacing agile teams:

  1. Burndown without burnouts: Since sprints are fast-paced and progress is tracked closely with burndown charts, etc., it’s a good idea for the team to have other perks like flexible hours and telecommuting options. If telecommuting is not an option, consider other perks to avoid burnout and help them achieve a work-life balance.
  2. Recognition cadence: PMs must recognize that the most important asset in the agile environment is the team. Remember to be sincere in…

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