What Is a Excessive-Performing Agile Group?



I typically say that our purpose inside Mountain Goat is to create high-performing groups. Greater than something, I really like serving to good groups turn into nice groups.

And what’s a high-performing crew? A high-performing crew sustainably exceeds expectations in reaching clear targets.

To do that, crew members interact in participative management, use minimal course of, collaborate nicely, respect one another and their variations, belief each other, work with urgency and focus, handle battle in a wholesome method, share a excessive sense of morale, and succeed or fail as a crew.

There’s rather a lot to these two sentences! So let’s dig deeper: I’ll clarify these elements.

What Does a Excessive-Performing Agile Group Look Like?

To find what makes a superb crew turn into nice, let’s break down my definition of a high-performing Scrum crew: A high-performing crew sustainably exceeds expectations in reaching clear targets.

Exceeds Expectations

Let’s begin with “exceeds expectations.” To be thought of excessive performing, a crew should do higher than anticipated. For those who take the highest superstars in your organization, put them on a crew, and so they carry out just a bit bit higher than the typical crew in your organization—that doesn’t sound like a high-performing crew to me.

To raised perceive this, suppose you’ve made a film. You launch it to theaters and promote $100 million in tickets. On the floor of it, you’ve made a profitable film. In 2019, the final full yr of theatrical film releases earlier than Covid, solely 29 of over 200 films earned greater than $100 million, based on IMDB.

Your film is proudly amongst them. The one drawback is that your film stars Dwayne Johnson, Ryan Reynolds, Will Smith, Angelina Jolie, Gal Gadot, Melissa McCarthy, and Viola Davis. Your price range simply on stars was nicely over $100 million. To be thought of excessive performing, your film should meet larger expectations.

Attaining Clear Targets

A high-performing crew will search readability in its targets. Group members will embrace the truth that a purpose will evolve.

However even because the purpose evolves, members of a high-performing crew will always be transferring collectively towards the identical purpose.


Anybody can get fortunate often. I hit three inexperienced lights in a row this morning. Any crew may exceed expectations often.

A high-performing crew does it time and again, with out burnout. With out burnout is essential. As acknowledged within the Agile Manifesto: groups “ought to have the ability to preserve a relentless tempo indefinitely.”

Excessive-performing groups sustainably exceed expectations.

How Does a Scrum Group Turn out to be Excessive Performing?

To assist perceive what makes a superb crew nice, let’s look at some frequent traits of excessive performing groups:

  • interact in participative management,
  • use minimal course of,
  • collaborate nicely,
  • respect one another and their variations,
  • belief each other,
  • work with urgency and focus,
  • handle battle in a wholesome method,
  • develop and share a excessive sense of morale, and
  • agree that they succeed or fail as a crew.

Let’s check out every of the issues a high-performing crew does.

Participative Management

Excessive-performing agile improvement groups hardly ever have autocratic leaders who make selections with out enter from the crew. As an alternative, high-performing groups interact in participative management: crew members collaborate to make selections.

Inside an agile crew construction, participative management can span a spectrum from builders absolutely empowered to make selections to the kind of crew that gives suggestions to a frontrunner—reminiscent of a Scrum Grasp or product proprietor—who in the end makes selections.

At a minimal, crew members are inspired to contribute to the decision-making course of.

Minimal Course of

Regardless of how novel a crew’s product or venture could also be, some parts of its improvement happen repeatedly. Excessive-performing groups develop simply sufficient course of to streamline and facilitate these parts of their work.

Their teamwork course of might be seen just like the strains on a freeway. The strains are there to assist autos journey extra shortly. The method helps agile groups work shortly. When extra course of than mandatory has been added, members of a high-performing crew take away the unneeded parts.

Collaborate Effectively

Generally, groups exist to do one thing that couldn’t be accomplished by one individual alone (or one thing that’s accomplished quicker when by a crew). Communication overhead and errors will at all times exist on a venture with multiple individual. That’s why the scrum framework, and different agile methods of working, advocate small cross-functional groups, with complementary talent units.

The most effective groups talk nicely and sometimes. Scrum makes frequent communication simple with each day scrum conferences. Members of high-performing groups are additionally adept at utilizing the precise medium for every communication, typically emailing, Slacking, calling, or assembly face-to-face both in individual or by way of video.

Respect Every Different and Their Variations

For optimum efficiency, a crew strikes shortly. Some groups will use the necessity for velocity to justify what can solely be referred to as a scarcity of respect. For instance, moderately than mindfully inviting dissenting views, such a crew might rush to a call after listening to solely a few opinions. That is disrespectful to these whose opinions dissented or weren’t even heard.

In contrast, members of a high-performing crew respect each other and worth their variations. Members of those groups could have typically fierce, however at all times respectful, debates earlier than selecting amongst alternate options.


Members of a high-performing crew know and belief each other. This may increasingly simply appear to be a easy nice-to-have. However for shortening time-to-value, it’s vital .

To see why, suppose you and I are on the identical crew. Your work can not start till my work is nicely underway. Maybe I’m designing one thing you’ll code. On a high-performing crew, you belief that I’ll ship my partial implementation on the date promised and that will probably be as far alongside as we’d agreed upon.

With out belief, you’d spend time checking up on me. Maybe it’s simply an electronic mail. However even that’s one thing. And I must reply to these requests. This slows each of us down, rising the time-to-value of that product or function.

Work with Urgency and Focus

Excessive-performing groups rise to fulfill challenges. And not using a problem, a crew is unlikely to rise to excessive efficiency.

Eliud Kipchoge is the present world file holder for the marathon, having run it 2:01:39. I think he often goes for a Sunday run within the park, only for enjoyable. When he does, he’s working a complete lot quicker than I ever will or have however nowhere close to his greatest.

Groups carry out greatest with barely aggressive however real looking deadlines. That will increase the urgency and requires extra focus so crew members keep away from distractions.

The most effective groups attempt to fulfill pressing targets as a result of they consider within the worth of their product. They know individuals will profit from the brand new performance and they’re excited to ship it as early as potential.

Handle Battle

Nice groups handle battle. That doesn’t imply they keep away from battle. Some battle is critical and arguing a couple of answer is usually the one means to make sure the perfect answer is chosen.

Excessive-performing groups will type tips, whether or not formal or casual, to forestall conflicts from escalating or persisting. It’s nice to disagree and to argue. However on a high-performing crew, the battle and disagreement must be forgotten as soon as a course ahead has been chosen.

A Excessive Sense of Morale

Excessive-performing groups are characterised by a excessive sense of morale. There’s a feeling of invincibility and that no problem is simply too nice. (Excessive-performing groups additionally know their limits and do know to talk up when one thing can’t be accomplished.)

The boldness of a high-performing crew is contagious. Different improvement groups will see it and wish it for themselves. And individuals who have skilled a high-performing crew working in direction of a standard purpose will search to expertise it once more on any future groups they be a part of.

Succeed as a Group

It’s unimaginable to turn into a high-performing crew with out crew members feeling they succeed or fail collectively. They’re all profitable or they’ve all failed. Nobody on a high-performing crew would ever dare say, “We failed, however I succeeded.”

Because of this to the extent potential, members of a high-performing crew assist each other out. If I’m behind on one thing, you’ll assist me out. And should you’re behind and I can probably assist, I’ll.

This goes past doing the work of a dash or iteration; it extends even into agile practices reminiscent of planning. If I’m about to overcommit myself for the approaching dash, my colleagues on a high-performing crew ought to step in and cease me, or not less than warn me. Collectively, we get the work to accomplished.

Why Excessive Efficiency Issues

Organizations will at all times attempt to do extra with much less. So there can even be an organizational need for high-performing groups.

I worth them, nonetheless, for a special purpose: They’re merely extra enjoyable to be a part of.

Take into consideration working as a part of a crew day-after-day that has all of the qualities I simply described. You’re exceeding expectations again and again whereas working towards a shared, clear purpose.

You and all of your teammates take part in making selections. You’ve gotten some course of in place, however simply sufficient that can assist you transfer shortly. You’re collaborating nicely. You belief and respect one another in order that battle turns into a inventive moderately than damaging affect. You consider in what you’re making, which lends pressing focus and excessive morale. And together with your teammates every serving to each other, you’ll succeed as a crew. That feels like enjoyable to me.

What Do You Assume?

What do you suppose? Is yours a high-performing crew? Or have you ever been on one previously? What do you suppose is lacking or pointless in my checklist above?

Please share your ideas within the Feedback part beneath.