People Management (not only) in SMEs: Agile Team Development – Team Vision, Leadership and Soft Skills

Nov 8, 2018
Blog - Agile Team Development

After addressing Sourcing & Selection and Performance Management & Feedback in previous installments of this series about People Management in SMEs, my team and I will now focus on Development and more specifically on Agile Training and Development in the areas of 

  • Team building & team vision (everyone being on board for the same vision)
  • Soft skills such as leadership and communication

We base our considerations on the following interconnected elements:

  • Societal change: for example new communication behaviors and expectations or new ways of approaching hierarchy, as well as mixed behaviors and expectations in teams with diverse backgrounds
  • Technological change: the digital transformation affecting all areas of work, rapidly evolving communication and collaboration technologies (that make for example virtual collaboration possible), artificial intelligence, etc
  • Change in business models: both above trends create markets for new products and opportunities for new business models
  • Increased levels of competition: all the above creates an even faster, eve more competitive business environment

We apply general Agile principles because we believe that they suit the entrepreneurial environment of SMEs in a natural way and are very useful if not even necessary in the current environment of rapid change.

We derive the following recommendations – we believe the measures taken for training and development (in the listed areas) should be

  • Embedded in everyday business: delivered in a series of small modules (e.g. 3 – 4 h) over the course of several weeks, with time to reflect in between, instead of larger blocks
  • Adaptative: as a consequence of being delivered in small installments over a longer period later modules can be adapted and fine-tuned based on findings from the earlier modules
  • Compact: small embedded and adaptative modules can be designed to be straight to the point, concentrated and highly efficient catalysts of the reflection process which takes place between the installments, leading to an optimal leverage of resources

These characteristics will make such programs well suited to today's fast paced, highly competitive business environment as well as the learning styles required in it. They are adapted to the expectations of a work force preferring independent, individualized work and learning styles. They can also be supported and enriched by using communication and collaboration technology.

Overall they allow organizations to be more effective and more efficient in using such tools as for example team vision workshops or leadership training.