Indicators for an effective team

Where to start to create an effective team?

From working with 50+ teams over the last two years, we have learned a lot about how product development or delivery teams work including their triggers for self-improvement. One thing stands out.- Team leads are highly driven to help their team to be more successful. In many cases, a team lead transitions from being a member to a lead. This is a challenging process according to many and it’s not always clear where to start.

The key to being an effective team lies in a combination of factors. There are a growing number of publications from traditional research organisations and industry investigations from the tech giants looking for their own silver bullet. According to Hackman (2002) “Leading Teams: Setting the Stage for Great Performances” there are five conditions that research has shown to optimise the effectiveness of the team:

  • Stability in members.
  • Clear purpose.
  • Positive group dynamics.
  • Process to collaborate.
  • Coaching.

Even with these base factors that lead to success, the question ‘where to start?’ still stands. Umano’s nine success indicators create a starting point for team leads and their teams to improve their practices.

The nine indicators are designed to support any team size and any practice. To begin with, Umano’s automated models support the highly adopted Scrum methodology throughout the development process from Planning to Implementation and Review. From the nine indicators, two-third spots insights within a specific phase of the development process and the remaining third cover the entire process from a communication perspective. The Indicators are grouped into three categories: Process, Technology and Behaviour.

The process indicators cover the fundamentals of planning, completion and changes to the planned work that happens within a sprint. Insights into these three measures help teams to take more control of their flow of work and to be more confident when communicating with customers and stakeholders. Improving a team’s ability to define its process also emboldens them to forecast future work more confidently, an outcome that will help to build trust.

Umano’s Process indicators are;

  • Planned Work.
  • Completed Work.
  • Sprint Stability.

The review practice is in many cases the final step before a team’s work is deployed and delivered to customers. Because of this, the quality of the review practice within a delivery process is a strong indicator of the quality of what is being delivered. Teams that review small units of work, with adequate context, in a timely way, produce quality work. Beyond the advantages to the team’s progress, rapid reviews reduce the amount of context switching, for both author and reviewer – a win for everyone!

Umano’s Technology indicators are;

  • Review Speed.
  • Pull Request (PR) Size.
  • Pull Request (PR) Detail.

Communication is the glue that makes a process, team or project successful. The communicative behaviour of the team is a representation of a team’s dynamic and ability to work together. Umano’s behaviour indicators look into, the balance of each team member’s contributions, their response times and how understandable their written comments and instructions are. Like within Technology and Process, three actionable indicators that give a team lead a place to start.

Umano’s Behavioural indicators are;

  • Responsiveness.
  • Communication Balance.
  • Readability.

Start by looking back, often!

The best results in changing practises are achieved by teams that trust each other and are transparent for the motivation for change. With Umano’s insights at every step of the process the “where to start’ question finally answered. The team leads focus can divert to the things that really matter, guiding conversations with the team members.

Looking back at their practices is for many Scrum teams a recurring ceremony in the form the Retrospective. Teams using Umano during the Retrospective benefit from having an objective view of their work through the insights presented, which allows for a data-informed conversation on where to start improving. We recommend to pick one improvement and work together with the team over a series of sprints before addressing the next.

Umano is currently working to expand the insights generated to cover more of the processes and practises like Kanban. Contact paulus at umano dot tech for a demo on how Umano can help your team.