Project Management

Voices on Project Management

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Voices on Project Management offers insights, tips, advice and personal stories from project managers in different regions and industries. The goal is to get you thinking, and spark a discussion. So, if you read something that you agree with--or even disagree with--leave a comment.

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Cameron McGaughy
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Soma Bhattacharya
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Recent Posts

The Power of Agile Team Cohesion

What Qualities Do the Best Project Managers Have?

The Power of Pauses and Silence

3 Agile Disconnects We Need to Address

What to Expect: Anticipating and Adapting to Dynamic Economic Trends

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The Power of Agile Team Cohesion

by Christian Bisson

Agile team cohesion is the seamless collaboration, effective communication, and shared goals and values among team members. I frequently prompt new teams to reflect on a time they thought things were going great; consistently, "the team" emerges as the primary factor contributing to that moment’s greatness.

Being intangible, team cohesion is often undervalued, with some viewing it as simply as an overhead. For example, team building activities, or even retrospectives that have a bit of fun included in them can be seen as a waste of time. Heck I’ve also been told by team members that it was an insult to their intellect! 

Despite that, the impact of team cohesion is far-reaching, offering substantial benefits to the team and the project at hand.

 

Enhanced Communication

Cohesive teams communicate more effectively, leading to smoother workflows through several key mechanisms:

  • Shared Understanding: Team cohesion fosters a shared understanding of goals, objectives, and project/product requirements among team members. When everyone is on the same page, communication becomes more targeted and relevant.
  • Open Communication Channels: In cohesive teams, trust and mutual respect is built over time which creates a culture of open communication. Team members feel comfortable expressing their ideas, concerns, and feedback. Not only does this transparency helps in addressing issues promptly, but it also provides the team with collective creativity to find solutions to whatever challenge they face.
  • Adaptability to Change: In agile environments, where change is frequent, cohesive teams are more adaptable. Effective communication ensures that everyone is informed about changes promptly, and the team can collectively adjust its strategies and tasks to accommodate new requirements.

 

Increased Productivity

  • Alignment of Efforts: Shared goals provide a common purpose that aligns the efforts of each team member. When everyone understands and commits to the same objectives, individual tasks and activities naturally complement one another, avoiding conflicts and redundancy.
  • Motivation and Engagement: Having shared goals fosters a sense of shared ownership and commitment. Team members are motivated to contribute their best efforts when they see how their work contributes to the overall success of the team and the achievement of common objectives.
  • Efficient Capacity Management: A united team optimises their capacity by ensuring that each team member focuses on tasks that align with the team's goals. This prevents duplication of efforts and ensures that time and expertise are utilised efficiently.
  • Collaborative Problem-Solving: Shared goals encourage collaborative problem-solving. Team members are more likely to work together to overcome challenges and find innovative solutions when they share a common objective. This collective approach enhances problem-solving efficiency and effectiveness.
  • Mutual Support and Knowledge Sharing: A united team promotes a culture of mutual support where team members readily assist each other. This support extends beyond task completion to knowledge sharing, where individuals leverage their strengths to help others, fostering continuous learning and skill development. Furthermore, this prevents “points of failure” where one member only can execute a certain task or has a certain expertise, lowering risks if team members leave the team or are missing.

Conclusion

Team cohesion is important, and it’s important for all members of the team to understand its value so that everyone contributes to it.

How do you actively contribute to your team's cohesiveness? Share your insights and any noteworthy team-building activities you've found effective.
 

 

 

Posted by Christian Bisson on: April 01, 2024 11:37 AM | Permalink | Comments (3)

Governance Models: The Secret to Successful Agile Projects

By Soma Bhattacharya

Everyone associates stand-ups and retrospectives with the agile way of doing things. Yet very few
give credit to the governance model that needs to be set up to ensure things are working. This isn’t
just about keeping the project running, but also to ensure:


1. Alignment with objectives: A well-thought-out governance model aligns with the project’s goals,
expectations and outcomes. A good way to look at the objectives and their success is to compare the
planned versus delivered features on a quarterly basis. Conduct retrospectives at the project level on
the spillovers, misses and root cause analysis for defects coming in—and what can be done to ensure
the objectives are still met. 


2. Decision making: When there’s clarity built into the governance model, it helps enable quick
decisions that are required in the everchanging market (often with shifting priorities) to deliver a
project. This can range from the prioritization required for “big room” planning when a new quarter
starts, or decisions for the sales and marketing of the product (and what the minimum viable product
is).


3. Risk management: When potential issues need addressing or help from stakeholders, the
governance model helps with risk management, too. During most regular meetings that are set up
over the period of the project, risk management issues are brought up and resolved to ensure the
project is still on schedule. These are very high-level, complex risks that would need the interference
of the stakeholders to get things done. This could mean bringing in a new vendor, looking into SLAs
or simply bringing in new teams and budget approvals to get something done.


4. Resource allocation: To deliver a high-quality product, resource allocation is essential—in
particular, “getting the right ones” from across teams in the organization. While adding more team
members might need to go through approvals with project stakeholders and sponsors, resource
allocation could also entail temporarily moving teams from one product to another to get things
moving and to maintain timelines.


5. Stakeholder engagement: The governance model defines the roles and responsibilities of the
project and allows for better communication and collaboration among stakeholders. This could range
from multiple ways of sharing the governance updates (like formal emails and reports), to the sharing
of a tool dashboard (to give an overview that anyone can look into at any point in time). What this
ensures is the right level of engagement can be requested based on the requirements.


6. Performance monitoring: This can include key performance metrics, ensuring the data is
available to make the decisions, and also to look at continuous improvements. Most teams and
projects these days have tools and dashboards that are automated and generate the required
performance reports. The reports can be made specific based on what information needs to be
dispersed—from delegations to check-ins, everything can be made available to monitor project
wellness.

What does your team or project do when defining the governance model?

Posted by Soma Bhattacharya on: January 18, 2024 10:28 PM | Permalink | Comments (6)
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