Developing solutions independently, improving together, and reacting flexibly to a dynamic environment: a lot is required of agile teams. Suddenly, Scrum or Kanban replace usual processes, everyone should organize themselves and work together cross-functionally. Many employees feel overwhelmed, after all, they were specialists with a fixed position in the hierarchy and a fixed area of responsibility in a line organization.
Self-organization cannot be prescribed overnight, but new processes and the new freedom of choice also require the development of new skills. The rapid development of the required skills in the team is therefore one of the most important cornerstones for a successful agile transformation. But how do you find out what skills your team is missing?
The importance of further training in self-organized teams
Self-organization is a complex topic — more on that in a separate blog article. Glenda Eoyang’s CDE model, which was developed by the two agile coaches Dr. Siegfried Kaltenecker and Peter Hundermark was expanded to include the component of “education” (InfoQ article “What are self-organizing teams”).
It is the task of managers to create framework conditions that enable and promote self-organization. In addition to conveying a common mission and an intrinsic form of reward (“reward”), this also includes the important point of education — both technical knowledge and soft skills.
Typical education needs in new agile teams
- Basic understanding of Agility and Inspect & Adapt
- Establishment of Scrum/Kanban workflows
- Role understanding of Scrum Masters and Product Owners
- Tools / Technologies
- Conflict resolution, communication and moderation
- knowledge transfer and collaboration
Identify training needs
In the transformations we have accompanied, it has proven itself that the teams do not have further training measures “ordered” from above, but that these are determined together in skill analysis workshops.
In the initial workshop (2–3 hours), the team gathers all the necessary skills in a brainstorming session and bundles them into meaningful topic clusters.
In the following days, one-on-one interviews (each 30–60 minutes) are held with all team members, in which the team members themselves assess the status quo of their existing skills and enter them in a matrix (“Skill Dashboard”). For example, the levels 1 = expert, 2 = experienced, 3 = basic knowledge, 4 = no knowledge are possible.
Then there is a validation workshop (2–3 hours) with 360° feedback from all other team members. Important: The third-party assessment of skills requires the consent of each individual and must be queried by the moderator at the beginning!
Finally, it is evaluated in which subject areas the skills across the team are already sufficient to cope with the tasks of the team. For this purpose, it is defined which skills are to be covered by how many people at which skill target level.
Marked in yellow: Skills that are not yet sufficiently available in the team.
Marked in green: Team members who want and/or need training.
A pie chart, for example, is suitable for visualizing the deviation between the target and the actual situation:
Would you like to conduct a skill analysis workshop with your team? I would be happy to support you in the preparation, moderation, and evaluation!