Agile PM Process Grid—Process 4.7 Coaching/Mentoring and 4.8 Conflict Resolution


The processes that support or nurture team performance are 4.7 Coaching/Mentoring and 4.8 Conflict Resolution.    The reason why I am combining these into one post is because, in my mind, they are both part of the “soft skills” you need as an agile project manager.

You may know the phrase “lead, follow or get out of the way.”   As a project manager for an agile project, your job is not so much to lead, and it is definitely not to follow, but rather it is to get things out of the TEAM’s way that may prevent them from getting the work done.

What are some of those impediments?   They fall into two groups, internal and external impediments.

Internal impediments include those elements within the team itself that are preventing work from getting done:

  • Lack of commitment to the iteration goals
  • Interpersonal conflict between team members
  • Vague communications during daily planning meetings
  • Lack of coordination or synchronization between team members
  • Ineffective use of influence in getting support from key stakeholders

External impediments include those elements outside of the team but within the company that are preventing work from getting done:

  • Department (operational) work or other project work overwhelming the capacity of a team member
  • Management behavior that is not consistent with agile principles and behaviors.
  • Compensation incentives not aligned to either teamwork or individual work by team members.
  • Managers exerting inappropriate control over team members.
  • Organizational churn causing frequent changes in the team.

The following are five of the best practices for removing these impediments and nurturing team success:

  1. On-going training
  2. Maintaining osmotic (open and transparent) communication within the team
  3. Top management support as a champion of the project within the company
  4. Team member interaccountability regarding measurable progress towards achievement of iteration goals
  5. Standards for supportive team behavior

One way of making sure the team is on track is to use agile metrics, which is the subject of the next post.

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