One of my core beliefs with Agile is that Teams are Greater than Projects. You can get a lot more out of agile by focusing on growing your team by unlocking their full potential. A lot of that is done through removing roadblocks, continuous improvement through retrospectives and fostering chemistry.
One way to improve chemistry is to have a shared identity. The purpose of a shared identity is to relay a set of values to not just to those outside the team, but more importantly those inside the team. I find it’s a lot easier to come up with a team identity after the team has worked together for a few months and accomplished a few goals together. As long as your team has been cooperating together they should all have a pretty good idea of what each member is all about. It’s the responsibility of the team as a whole to decide on a team brand.
A team brand can be anything that defines the team. It can be a team name. A team logo or emblem. A team motto. This can be anything, as long as the team gets behind it and makes it their own. I suggest a team brainstorming activity to try and tease out people’s personalities. Here are some questions that you can use to spur on the conversation:
- What are some animals that share our attributes?
- What kinds of words or adjectives describe our successes?
- Do we have any common background elements that we’re proud of?
- Is there a colour that matches what we want to be?
My team went through this process in the past month, and we came up with the team name ‘The Hive Collective’. The reason for this is that we’ve been doing a much better job than the other teams in the organization at working together. We’re doing a ton of pair programming, mob programming, and just parallelizing the work in order to move individual stories from open to closed as quickly as possible. This led us to discussing bees and other entities that share knowledge. It took us a while to come up with something that the whole team bought into, but it was a fun process, and we subsequently designed the emblem and logo for the team name reveal. The hexagons are tied to bees (Hive). The logo in the center is our business unit: “We have it covered”. The blue in most of the
hexagons is the “NorthStar blue” from some of our company branding. The orange hexagon is related to our first success as a team: Completing the MVP for our new Customer Connect customer web portal.
The most important part of this process is to have fun with it. The team should be proud of the branding they come up with. After all, it defines who they are and what they want to become. It provides the team with a reminder as to their values and shared experiences, and leads to increased chemistry.