Agile Generates Trust.

Anyone working with Agile knows that it lives and dies with the team. Everyone involved has a specific role, supporting the project and team members to achieve success.

An article in the May/June 2012 issue of IEEE Software focuses on the Agile team, but on the impact trust has on these teams. imageAs the authors explain, trust is a key factor with Agile team members, who have to be able to trust that each teammate is working hard, following the timeline and possesses the necessary knowledge to complete the task at hand. Without a high level of trust, the project can suffer.

The article focuses on three case studies where each team had been utilizing Agile methodologies for at least six months. Interestingly, the results found that Agile methodologies actually increased and reinforced trust between team members due to:

  • Status transparency and visibility
  • Accountability and collective responsibility
  • Open and frequent team communication
  • Knowledge sharing and feedback

Of course, other factors contributed to trust, but also presented challenges for team members, including:

  • External visibility on project tasks
  • Team pressure
  • Tension between the PO and the team
  • Developers accessibility to the PO
  • Tendency to underestimate tasks
  • Value of the retrospective

However, on the whole, the authors discovered that Agile practices helped the three teams work more cohesively and trust one another – benefitting the team, the department, the project and the company.

Now is the point where I ask for your opinion. You more than likely haven’t conducted your own study of the impact of trust in Agile teams, but what do you think – do Agile methodologies generate increased trust (and maybe increased productivity and job satisfaction) in Agile team members? What other challenges might Agile present in terms of trust?

Please share your thoughts!

Full text of the article is not available online.
Agile Practices: The Impact on Trust in Software Project Teams, May/June 2012, IEEE Software

Mike Harris
DCG President

Written by Michael D. Harris at 10:07
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