Soft Skills Needed To Manage An Agile Team

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To successfully manage teams in agile environments, workflow alignment is not the only factor you should be working on. Though agile methodology came about as a response to tackle the high risks being faced in waterfall projects, agile practices are now being adopted across industries. The client’s loan processing mechanism consists of three layers from a software development and testing perspective:

The key to effective management of agile teams lies in the mastery of soft skills. In agile environments, a diverse range of interpersonal interactions are in play as collaborative work takes center stage. Leaders in agile environments will find themselves needing people skills more than ever before.

Agile teams need three fundamental features to survive:
1. Motivation
2. Feedback
3. Communication

The primary role of a manager/leader would therefore be people management. Here are the soft skills needed by an agile team manager:

1. Self-Leadership

To guide agile teams, it is essential that you are aware of your own capabilities and are self-motivated. A servant leader optimizes the performance of the team, as a servant leader empowers and enriches the lives of team members by building individual capacities and confidence. A nurturing environment is created wherein members explore and ideate, thereby delivering amazing results. The entire team is therefore more driven and achieves great results.

2. Active Listening Skills

Communication and feedback channeling are among the pillars of working in agile environments. Being a good listener is essential for an agile manager, as the concerns of various departments and individuals need to be taken into consideration and acted upon. Working agile allows managers to make informed decisions, and being a good listener is what will make you efficient.

3. Negotiation Skills

Be it clients, superiors at work, or team members, negotiating expectations and setting up reality checks is the most challenging part of an agile manager’s life. If you wish to effectively handle an agile team, learn to simultaneously negotiate with multiple stakeholders.

4. Mentoring Skills

Professionals in an agile environment are in a constant state of innovation and self-development, thanks to the flexible attitudes towards evolving business needs and client expectations. Being a mentor and a guide in such an environment helps build strong, productive teams.

5. Brainstorming Techniques

Facilitating effective brainstorming sessions can be a tricky process, especially in a multi-disciplinary setting. Identify the requirements of your team and what it takes for each member to become participative. You might want to research on effective brainstorming techniques that channel conversations and result in actionable ideas, and lead your team accordingly.

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