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Is your otherwise competent and engaged agile team starting to regularly missing deadlines, produce low quality work, clog or circumvent feedback loops, and roam the halls like zombies—or if you prefer, like white walkers? If so, then the bad news is that your group is burned out.

The good news, however, is that you can revive them if you take action now vs. wait and see if things get better in the future (pro tip: they will get much worse). Here is what to do:

revive agile teams

1. Be flexible

Agile has the potential to be highly beneficial, and can be the best thing to happen to development teams since the invention of pizza delivery. But remember that Scrum and Kanban are methodologies: not religions. Implementing an agile-hybrid approach, where detailed requirements are followed by incremental sprints, might be what your team needs to get the structure, stability (and sanity) they need.

2. Empower and recognize

Lack of control is among the most common causes of burnout, which is especially problematic on agile teams where so many key decisions are made by customers and external teams. Help your team reclaim some power by giving them ownership of goals and outcomes, and especially by recognizing and rewarding success.

3. Foster visibility

If your agile team is constantly fighting a tiresome and losing battle with the PMO and IT project managers for more resources, more clarity, more time, and more budget, then the root cause is likely a disconnect between the two camps. The solution? Implement a tool that bridges the gap and fosters visibility, so that decision are made based on hard data vs. anecdotal evidence or guestimates.

4. Pair workloads

Pairing workloads can go a long way towards preventing end-of-sprint death marches. To make this work, pay attention to the quality of work and the level of engagement in the context of the overall sprint goals, and the size of the backlog and technical debt.

5. Enhance clarity

A weak signal-to-noise ratio in agile environments blurs focus and triggers burnout. Enhance clarity by offering (where applicable) more remote working opportunities, reducing the volume and frequency of meetings, and ensuring meetings that remain on the calendar are efficient and facilitated.

6. Don’t underestimate the power of coaching.

No, this isn’t to suggest that you should put up pretty posters on the wall that declare: “Today is Tomorrow’s Yesterday.” Rather, it’s to remind you that part of your job is to meet one-on-one with your team members and see whether they need to re-charge their batteries. This is especially true of the introverts in your group, who may be extremely proficient but can be among the first to get exhausted in frenetic, constantly changing agile work environments.

…and last but certainly not least:

7. Have fun!

Whether it means going out as a group for a meal, to a movie, to an amusement park, or maybe giving your team some time off to spend with their families and friends, injecting fun and pressing the pause button on work can do wonders for energy levels and overall commitment.


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Preview: Gartner Market Guide for Adaptive Project Management & Reporting

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In the Gartner Market Guide for Adaptive Project Management & Reporting guide, Gartner, Inc. provides recommendations and evaluation criteria for executives and PMO leaders assessing Project and Portfolio Management (PPM) solutions. This guide outlines the adaptive project management and reporting process flow as well as a market review of current providers in the following categories:

  • - Existing pure-play PPM providers
  • - Collaborative work management (CWM) providers
  • - Enterprise agile planning (EAP) providers
  • - Technology Platform providers from other markets

The guide provides insight into how well a product or service fulfills certain functional capabilities – with a forward-looking market direction and analysis provided.

In the report, Gartner, Inc. mentions/states that “by 2024, 50% of all program and portfolio management (PPM) leaders will integrate complementary technologies to enable portfolio decision making and adaptive work management for digital business evolution.”

Clarizen offers a complete solution that connects work across the enterprise, turning ideas into strategies, plans, and action. With Clarizen, organizations can work the way they want to work and have real time visibility across all workstreams in their portfolio. This keeps teams focused on the things that matter, provides the real-time information needed to make more accurate and timely decisions, and delivers results faster to meet and even exceed company goals and customers’ expectations.

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