How were the Axify graphics and approach chosen? Various concepts and frameworks on teams' performance measurement form the platform's basis, and the Lencioni pyramid is part of it.
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Understand the challenges that teams face
When a new team is formed, its members go through many stages before it is truly successful. This roller coaster of discussions and confrontations within the team can lead to its success (if all members communicate and work together towards a common goal) or its failure if the team cannot agree and complete the project.
Even in the case of success, it is essential to maintain openness and transparency in all areas of the project. This is what the Lencioni pyramid (see Table Group, speaker Patrick Lencioni) explains by presenting the five dysfunctions of a team and the keys to solving them.
The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, Patrick Lencioni, published in 2002 - Image: High5test.com
|Note: This book is explicitly a work of fiction and is not based on research. Its practical recommendations, therefore, lack empirical support. Still, this model provides valuable information about team dynamics and has some advantages over other models. The model is simple, identifies many reasons why teams fail and offers practical advice on building well-functioning teams. Lencioni also raises the following points:
Adapted text, source: Wikipedia
Absence of trust
Team members refuse to be vulnerable and admit their mistakes, weaknesses, or that they need help. As a result, the team may notice a loss of communication and effectiveness as team members close themselves to collaboration and mutual support. A team in the process of forming will most likely experience these effects, but an established team may face a situation that results in a lack of trust and vulnerability.
Axify's Human Axis can help identify these trends and enable team leaders (e.g. Scrum Master) to address the situation openly and collaboratively. For example, involving the team in identifying blockers and the decision-making process. Encouraging knowledge transfer and pair work can also help restore trust.
- Getting team members to share and appreciate each other's strengths makes it easier to reach out when a team member needs help.
- Of course, having clear communication of goals and expectations at all levels goes a long way toward increasing the sense of inclusion (derived from trust) and safety.
Fear of conflict
It is about refusing to share one's point of view or ideas for fear of confrontation. We're not talking about conflict per se here, but rather constructive and passionate debate. Moreover, it is essential to remember that Agile principles teach us to create projects around motivated people, give them the environment and support they need, and trust them to do their work.
- Axify aims to highlight what needs to be addressed to inspire fact-based conversations. When an increase in cycle time or a more significant number of code reviews merged without being reviewed by another team member is identified, the data is undeniable. However, it is essential to remember that Axify looks at the team, not the individuals, inviting the group to address these issues in a neutral, judgment-free environment.
Lack of commitment
If the team avoids certain discussions and does not understand why certain decisions were made, they will not fully commit to the action plan or overall team goals. Ultimately, this lack of accountability can lead to ambiguity throughout the organization, which can directly impact the sense of alignment and even motivation.
- Although Axify provides several graphs and indicators for teams to use, the platform is meant to be a tool that supports discussions. It remains essential to be transparent and clear in sharing goals and delivery expectations.
- Axify's Human Axis measures team morale along five dimensions, including motivation and alignment, which are related to commitment.
Psst! Remember one of the pillars of empiricism: transparency!
Avoidance of accountability
To avoid discomfort or confrontation, team members do not hold each other accountable for their behaviour and performance. As a result, even the most motivated individuals may be reluctant to call out their peers for risky actions or behaviours... This goes against the overall interest of the team.
- As mentioned previously, Axify aims to inspire teams to have fact-based discussions.
- Among other things, our Daily Digest highlights the items of the current iteration according to their status. It identifies the points to address according to 4 criteria: total age of the item, age of the current step, level of activity, and level of collaboration. It becomes natural to address the blockers and find a solution as a team to ensure that the item discussed progress by the next meeting.
Inattention to results
When not held accountable for their actions, team members can put their own needs (ego, career advancement, etc.) ahead of the team's collective goals. Out of sight, out of mind: if the goal is not clear or regularly presented as a reminder, the team can lose sight of the need, and ultimately the organization and customers suffer.
- Axify allows you to compare the team's performance over time, from one week or one sprint to another.
- Two weeks ago, we identified a bottleneck that was lengthening the cycle time, and we agreed as a team to take action to solve this problem? Where are we today? Have we had an improvement (i.e. a decrease in cycle time, overall or in a specific step)? We can get the answer in just a few clicks, both at the level of code reviews (Technical axis) and the overall development cycle (Process axis).
- An item has been added to the current sprint, and we want to make sure that this increase in workload is aligned with the sprint goal? The Daily Digest displays the team's goal at the top of the page, allowing for a quick confirmation that the efforts invested by the team are contributing to the current goal.
The key to success when working in a team is to remember that we are all human and different.
Being open, disciplined, and persistent makes it easier to overcome difficulties and build trust.
Admitting an error or lack of knowledge on a specific topic can lead to sharing knowledge through collaboration with a team member, making the most of everyone's skills and experience. Over time, this will allow the team to make better decisions faster and accomplish more in less time to benefit the organization and the customers.
Want to learn more about this concept? Refer to the links shared at the beginning of this article or consult official resources such as the book "The Five Dysfunctions of a Team" by Patrick Lencioni.