Not to be confused with committing to a particular delivery date or predefined set of functionality, commitment describes the trust the team places in the agile approach and its values. Often it is assumed that everyone is following the same approach and coming from the same place, but by making the commitment explicit as an individual, team and organization, they all start from the same baseline.
Courage empowers members of an organization to speak up and call out unethical behavior by management that can influence work being produced. Many organizations believe that “if you don’t say anything, the bad decision will disappear.” But, in today’s globally connected world, decisions do not disappear quickly, so company leaders need to take responsibility.
Instead of working independently, teams are more effective when they collaborate on small sets of customer-driven outcomes. This is why company leaders should empower their teams to tackle the most important tasks first as they work toward a final product. Focusing on one task at a time ensures teams are putting only the best resources into making a final product any organization can be proud of.
Much like commitment, company leaders should empower their teams to be open about their work, which helps create transparency to their progress. When assumptions about how a product should be developed prove to be invalid, openness helps team members admit to stakeholders they were wrong, to ask for help and change direction to improve and create a better product. The phrase “fail fast” is often used to describe agile approaches, but actually it is “learn fast.” Openness is a prerequisite to that mantra.
Above all else, company leaders should respect their team members’ diverse backgrounds, experiences and range of skills. Showing respect for team members and assuming they have good intentions can lead to conversations that resolve conflict within an organization and improves team performance. When people feel respected and know they are being heard, they can fully support company decisions, even if the decision was not their preference.