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Feb 9, 2022

Changing the World's Environment With High-Performance Teams

Developing a high-performance team has always been a challenge, but a hybrid work model adds a new layer of complexity to this process. Jenny van Rinsum, Agile Coach and Scrum Master at Alliander, will make a presentation on this topic at this year’s in-person 2022 Agile Coach Conference. Jenny is a certified (SAFe) Agile Coach and Scrum Master, as well as an expert in creating high-performance teams through servant leadership and communication. Enjoy this warm-up for her presentation at the Agile Coach Conference, which will happen on March 30th at the Johan Cruijff ArenA in Amsterdam.

To achieve the high-performance level, teams need to reach a point where their members can work with Agile and Scrum without a Scrum Master. because they will be self-organized. “That means that if they have a problem, they can just solve it themselves. High-performance teams have that maturity and transparency -- they can talk to each other if they have an issue, and they can solve their dependency's impediments,” details Jenny. The basis for this level of performance is trust in each other, speaking up about problems, and helping colleagues, as well as working well with other teams.

The key role of communication

At Alliander, Jenny is coaching teams that are developing a new MVP in an energy substation company. This case has inspired her showcase for The Agile Coach Conference this year. “I’m working with several teams on this MVP, all composed of really highly-skilled experts in areas such as mathematics and software development,” she explains. The team had to start this project working on the online model, which proved to be nothing short of challenging. “Overall, the group is composed of people that are not used to working and collaborating with other teams. So, it is our responsibility as Agile Coaches to make those teams act as high-performance teams do. They have a lot of dependencies with each other, so they have to communicate well, and that can be a challenge for them. That is why we need to connect with them,” elaborates Jenny.

Besides having to overcome the communication barriers, every team in the middle of a transformation always faces changes that can be brought about by either the outside world, or by internal factors, which is precisely why they need to be Agile and flexible.

If you can make a choice as a team, you can really choose the perfect fit for the kind of work you do. I think the hybrid form has a lot of advantages if you implement it correctly, because starting a high-performance team demands connection.

Adaptations needed before perpetuating a primarily hybrid model

The culture is remaking and pushing the teams to adapt to the new hybrid work model. “What I discovered within the teams which I am coaching is a tendency to prefer to work from home, because of the balance such an approach offers between personal life and work life. However, they do miss the social aspects that come along with working in the office,” she says.

Besides the work-life balance, a lot of people see the ease of focus as an advantage of the hybrid model. They feel more concentrated from home, without the distractions that can be seen in the office. However, the number of meetings you have can increase to compensate for the lack of social encounters or even coffee chats. “If you can make a choice as a team, you can really choose the perfect fit for the kind of work you do. I think the hybrid form has a lot of advantages if you implement it correctly, because starting a high-performance team demands connection,” notes Jenny. For her, to achieve success in this model, teams need to set strict rules and ensure that stand-up meetings are happening regularly.

Jenny also highlights the leadership mission in this new way of working. Based on her experience, the real magic occurs when leaders begin to embed trust and transparency, thus truly embracing autonomy within their teams.

Agile coaching in the hybrid model

Working and Agile coaching went through major changes with the online and hybrid work models. “Normally, when you are working, you use support tools like sticky notes on a whiteboard. Now, you need more online tools. For team meetings, it is the same thing. Not to mention the fact that you don’t have the social aspect that comes with working in the office. What tools can I use to replace the team going out for drinks?” Asks Jenny. To work in the new models, it is necessary to find the right digital toolset and rely on people’s positive and creative mindsets. With the Agile Coach Conference, she expects that companies that are not working with the right mindset at the moment will start to think about beginning to work Agile, even in the hybrid model. “I hope we can inspire them to go in that direction, because I don't think you can survive as a company if you are not adapting to change. You can use the Agile mindset for every way of working, as long as you have people working together,” concludes Jenny.

Join discussions like this in the inspiring and beloved Johan Cruijff ArenA, saving your spot for the Conference by clicking here. You can already get in touch with speakers and other attendees from now on by joining our Agile Coach Conference 2022 LinkedIn event page. We look forward to welcoming you at the Conference!

Written by Gladwell Academy, but most of our content is created by trainers and partnering experts!