The Team Mirror : A Constructivist Study of an Agile Method for Team Development

University essay from KTH/Skolan för industriell teknik och management (ITM); KTH/Skolan för industriell teknik och management (ITM)

Abstract: In rapidly changing environments organization and management theories have to consider more flexible approaches to match the demands (1) (2). Agile methods attempt to enable flexible efficient ways of working in team structures (1). In this thesis we empirically study a model from a constructivist approach in an attempt to contribute to knowledge on the eternal problem of people working efficiently in the structure of teams. Social processes are argued to have a major impact on the general application of agile methods (3). However, the practitioners of agile methods tend to focus more on the physical and technical infrastructure as enablers of successful teamwork rather than the social processes of team development (4). Hence, without knowing how the social processes of a team affects the usage of agile methods for team development, an organization is at risk of becoming less efficient over time without realizing why (5) (6).Therefore it is essential to study how an agile method for team development affects and influences the social processes within a team in order to understand how it can be used for efficient teamwork. The purpose of this thesis was to study how an agile method for team development can aid a software development team to improve their way of working. We empirically tested a team-level workshop-based agile method for team development, SHC, in a case study at the Swedish Police Authority IT Department. This included 14 focus group sessions with seven development teams. We posed the following main research question to fulfill the purpose of the study: how can the use of an agile method for team development help software development teams improve theirway of working? We conclude that there are several ways in which an agile method for team development can help teams improve their way of working, and that these depend on the unique social processes within each team. The purpose of the study was fulfilled by the findings of how an agile method can serve teams in different stages of team development by fulfilling different purposes, how it can assist a team in taking action, as well as the potential it has to enable Shared Leadership.

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