Are you a lone-wolf? Agile Partnership Chart – a tool to develop high performance teams in agile projects

Efficient communication and collaboration is a prerequisite for successful agile project management. But how it is possible to develop agile teams and to measure the individual performance? Therefore exists a refined tool: the Agile Partnership Chart. Dr. Arthur Kolb and Pritam Sen present the methodology, show the process and describe the experience in a case study.

Are you a lone-wolf? Agile Partnership Chart – a tool to develop high performance teams in agile projects

Efficient communication and collaboration is a prerequisite for successful agile project management. But how it is possible to develop agile teams and to measure the individual performance? Therefore exists a refined tool: the Agile Partnership Chart. Dr. Arthur Kolb and Pritam Sen present the methodology, show the process and describe the experience in a case study.

Agile software development has changed the way software development used to work in the past. Agile approach prefers shorter iterations for software development processes unlike the traditional development approach. Agile processes also emphasize that the software development iterations should be shorter, incremental and people centric (Schwaber, 2011).

Efficient communication and collaboration is a prerequisite for successful agile project management. But there are no processes proposed to develop teams and to measure the individual performance. The main objective of this article is the introduction of a tool to develop and monitor high performance teams in agile projects. We will present the methodology, show the process and describe the experience in a case study. The applicability of the tool is shown in a use case at a big internet company in Germany.

Agile Partnership Chart

The "Agile Partnership Chart" was derived from the project management tool "Stakeholder Management" (Freeman, 2010). Generally, stakeholders are anyone with a legitimate interest in the project. This may include investors/board, management, end-users, developers and anyone who is funding, building or using the product.

To be successful it is important to have close people collaboration with the Scrum team members who represent different domain expertise like software development, product management, project management, usability, build and release engineers. This close collaboration can be monitored with the help of the "Agile Partnership Chart".

The "Agile Partnership Chart" is versatile and can be used by anyone who wants to monitor people collaboration. This tool can be used to promote a whole team approach in a Scrum team to show the team members how synergetic and collaborative they were towards the achievement of the team goals.

Commitment and Attitude

A Scrum team requires a collection of people with specialized skills. Therefore when people with specialized skills work together a certain level of commitment and a certain attitude will exist. In a Scrum team, commitment and attitude can co-exist and the "Agile Partnership Chart" allows for positioning a team member according to their levels.

Figure 1: Commitment and Attitude co-exist.

The quality of collaboration can be mapped with the "Agile Partnership Chart". When the sum of commitment and attitude of a team member is greater than 0 then it is easy to work together and create high synergy and collaboration. When the sum is equal 0 then the team member is undecided and causes delay of work items. And finally when the sum is a negative number, it is easy to disagree with each other and there is no or only little collaboration (see figure 1).

Quadrants of Agile Partnership Chart

The 4 quadrants of the "Agile Partnership Chart" can also be presented diagrammatically as shown below (see figure 2). The red line that runs through the intersection is where the sum of commitment and attitude is zero. The "Agile Partnership Chart" acknowledges the fact that commitment and attitude can co-exist within an individual. And this individual level of commitment and attitude will have an effect on the overall team dynamics in any project.

Figure 2: Pictorial Representation of 4 Quadrants in Agile Partnership Chart.

Commitment can be active or passive, the attitude negative or positive. The clusters introduced above are explained in the table below (figure 3).

Figure 3: Types of Commitment and Attitude (Introducing Change Management, 2008).
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Mapping of Human Behaviors in Agile Partnership Chart

A team can have members who can represent diverse human behaviors when it comes to collaborative team work. The different human behavioral patterns can be clustered in cooperative, constructive, torn-apart, laid-back, indecisive and hostile (bandit). In the "Agile Partnership Chart" some of these behaviors are mapped so that it is easy to use when it comes to mapping an individual in the chart. The figure 4 shows the human behavior mapped on the Agile Partnership Chart.

Figure 4: Mapping Human Behavior in Agile Partnership Chart.

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Simon
Berg

Thanks, interesting read. I wonder, though: How was the tool introduced to the team to avoid non-champions feeling blamed?

 

Frank
Lehmke

Smart and simple method, great job! But I thought about the same issue that Simon Berg has already pointed out. You will never show your stakeholder analysis results to anybody for a good reason, so why should you do so with the agile partnership chart? How to prevent conflicts, demotivation or other unwanted side effects arising from publishing the chart to the team? You should be aware that you are implementing some kind of (performance) ranking within the team. Therefore, I don't think that the approach of revealing those information is applicable for every agile team, but maybe just for high-performance teams.