At a recent Agile Coach Camp I attended in June, a fellow participant said it best when he commented that as a software developer who had not really had an interest in people or relationships before, agile changed everything for him. He said Agile methods gave him a way to communicate with others, to trust them, and to understand how to work together to deliver excellent products.
What this gentleman was referring to, perhaps unknowingly, is one of the stages of team development. When an individual moves through stages of not trusting to trusting they are participating in an evolutionary process with a positive end result.
Daniela Moinau writes about this process in her article entitled, “High-performance Teams: Understanding Team Cohesiveness.”
She writes, “Once the storming stage is overcome the team is ready to establish open communications, stable positions and norms – the norming phase. Trust is finally gained, and “when the trust account is high, communication is easy, instant, and effective.” These are the first steps towards cohesiveness. Once cohesiveness is achieved, teams will move from norming to performing and subsequently to highly performing. ”
So while it may appear somewhat obvious that teams would trust one another, its not obvious to everyone. Each person carries their own unique history and their life experiences are of value. These experiences shaped who they are and what they have become. These experiences, whether pleasant or traumatic, shape a person’s ability to trust.
Agile methods to challenge teams to trust on a more profound level because of the nature of the values and principles which insist on it.
When a person, such as the software developer I mentioned in the first paragraph, overcomes his own internal patterns and learns to trust in a new way it leads to cohesiveness for him and his team. And this cohesiveness leads to high-performance.
As it turns out, trust is essential.