Project Management

Agile Teams Are People, Too

Andy Jordan is President of Roffensian Consulting S.A., a Roatan, Honduras-based management consulting firm with a comprehensive project management practice. Andy always appreciates feedback and discussion on the issues raised in his articles and can be reached at [email protected]. Andy's new book Risk Management for Project Driven Organizations is now available.

The shift to remote working that was forced on everyone a little over two years ago has had several unexpected benefits. One of those is the increased appreciation for the need to manage mental wellness in the workplace. It’s been encouraging to see so many organizations make meaningful progress in this regard, with not only greater awareness and understanding, but practical steps to help people maintain a healthy balance between work and other life elements. Leaders and managers have also become more aware of the need to look for signs of mental stressors, and the stigma around mental health is slowly receding (though there is still a long way to go).

But there has been one area where I haven’t seen so much progress made, and that’s with agile project teams, specifically in the technology arena. Burnout and other mental health challenges have been an issue for IT departments for years, long before the pandemic hit—here’s a Forbes piece from 2018. But as work has become more reliant on technology enabled collaboration and communication, so the pressure on development teams has grown.

Combine that with the fact that agile teams are self-organizing, and often lack the same degree of direct management oversight as more traditional teams, and it becomes easier for problems to be missed until damage is already being done. We can point to scrum …

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"Whenever you find that you are on the side of the majority, it is time to reform."

- Mark Twain