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Mar 16 at 6:06pm

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Many organizations today function in a team environment. Working in teams provides the opportunity to share the decision making, to increase productivity, to give voices for the purposes of providing feedback to all those involved in the team and it typically regarded as an environment that fosters creativity and innovation. The leadership role in a team enviornement is much different then other leadership roles. The leader in the team leadership environment is responsible for keeping an eye on the teams performance and taking action, when needed, to help the team effectively meet goals and outcomes. According to Northouse (2018), “for teams to be successful, the organizational culture needs to support member involvement. The traditional authority structure of many organizations does not support decision making at lower levels, and this can lead to the failure of many teams” (section 14.1, para. 4).  Most organizations are accustomed to vertical or top down decision making. In an team leadership enviornement the entire team shares the responsibility of making the decision, this flat decision making model is often a source of organizational struggle and can cause a team leadership environment to fail. Organizations that chose to implement and function in a team leadership environment can work to change their culture to one that supports and encourages collaboration. In my current role, we are assigned and volunteer to be apart of large scale work groups. These work groups are designed to solve for difficulties or inefficiencies experienced within operations. The work group, which is a multi-disciplinary team with representation from most functional departments within the organization is tasked with a pain point and works to create a solution that will positively impact it. The team has the power and the ability to decide what the solution is, how its created and where its implemented/piloted.  In addition, they are expected to produce a set of expected outcomes. These outcomes, along with the solution,  are presented to the C-Suite and measurements are created to determine if the desired outcome was achieved. In addition, the team has the ability to request and receive funding to pay for the proposed solution.  As an organization, we have had huge success and employee engagement as a result of this leadership style.

Resource:

Northouse, P. (2018). Leadership theory and practice (8th ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

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Teams are increasingly important to larger companies.  Our technical teams at Target are now organized around Scrum Teams.  Scrum is an agile process that focuses on delivering business value, sometimes called minimal viable product (MVP), in a short time.  It inherently has different ceremonies built in its methodology that create good team environments.  The team works in sprints that are typically 2 – 3 weeks in length.  Every sprint there are 4 ceremonies:

Sprint Planning – Planning the work to be done over the next sprint

Daily Standup – 15 minutes for all to update where they are

Sprint Review – Show and tell stakeholders what was accomplished

Retrospective – What worked well and what could be improved upon

I think that these ceremonies provide the communication and feedback that is needed for teams to be successful.  One of the main reason’s teams fail is lack of communication.  It affects the leadership, culture and productivity of teams.  While I do not work on an agile team currently, I still employ the communication tools learned during this time in my weekly team meetings with the small team that I supervise.  We will be placing a higher emphasis on what is working or not working since we are all working from home for the foreseeable future.

One of my favorite teams that I worked on was a co-located and I was the lead on the team.  We quickly implemented the agile ceremonies and moved through Bruce Tuckman’s forming, storming, norming and performing stages within one month (n.d. Team formation).  Several times we regressed as new team members were added or left, but again our communication stayed strong due to adherence to these standardized meetings.

Reference

n.d. Forming, Storming, Norming and Performing, Understanding the stages of Team Formation.  Retrieved from https://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newLDR_86.htm

(Links to an external site.)

n.d. Agile Vs Scum:  Know the Difference.  Retrieved from guru99.com/agile-vs-scrum.html

Krause, L. (2019) The effects of Poor Communication in the Workplace. Retrieved from https://www.thealternativeboard.com/blog/the-effects-of-poor-communication-in-the-workplace

(Links to an external site.)

Radigan, D. n.d. Have we met? Four agile ceremonies, demystified.  Retrieved from https://www.atlassian.com/agile/scrum/ceremonies