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How Self-Motivated Teams Become the Pillar of the Agile Process

20 January 2016

Sayi Sarat Chandra Parvatam
Cigniti Technologies Ltd

Why start Agile?

The Agile method and process models are said to be a modern approach in the field of software development. The Agile method is proposed to overcome the natural flaws of the traditional Waterfall model and to also make further improvements in the processes being followed. Thus, like any new approach, Agile has evolved from problems in the old models that have been considered and corrected. But there is also something in Agile that makes it unique and special, compared with previous models of software development.

Agile is a methodology and philosophy

The previous models of software development stipulated rules on how to do things. The basic Waterfall model clearly explains to us the differences in various phases of development and work flow. Other models, such as prototyping and iterative, also strictly define the specific ways of doing things.

Unlike these models, Agile is not a method but rather a methodology, and also a philosophy. Agile doesn’t define the perfect way of working; it directs us toward the path we choose to implement. It doesn’t prescribe how to do things, but it keeps us informed on how to get things done the right way.

The basic principle of Agile

The basic principle of Agile is flexibility of work and situational decision making, with maximum participation from the team members. So Agile doesn’t provide us with the idea of working, it provides us an ideology to follow. The freedom given to the employee is sometimes mistaken to be an imperfect way of doing things and thus provokes negative feedback about the Agile process. Understanding the work and reacting situationally instead of always following a certain set of rules is what makes agility the best-known method today.

Defining Agile is also done in a very unconventional way. When describing other traditional models of software development, the phases of development and the process model are defined. Agile was defined simply as a set of principles. The Agile models evolved as a consequence of following these principles. The Agile principles clearly state the shift in orientation and focus from the product to the process. Sustainability, continuity, adaptability, flexibility, collaboration, etc., form the major components of the Agile method.

Teams in Agile

The most important part of Agile is the way the team is organized. The Agile model demands that teams demonstrate exceptional self-motivation and self-driven thought processes. It is not only about a team formation with a leader and his or her subordinates, in which the leader dictates the tasks to the team members and they perform accordingly. In the Agile implementation process, every member of the team is equal to the leader.

The servant leader/ScrumMaster is a common point of communication for resolving impediments. However, in the process of Agile implementation, the team is subject to change, depending on the situation. Therefore, the Scrum team has to put in collaborative effort to reach the target goal in the stipulated time frame and acquire the desired outcomes.


The most challenging task in Agile team formation is the exceptional quality of self-motivation in each of the team players. There is no space for personal ideas and thoughts (at least not beyond a certain point). Agile is a platform that demands the collective efforts of team players toward achieving a common goal of better business growth or betterment in the organizational outcomes. Self-motivation is sometimes felt as a burden by the team members but, in fact, it is the best trait a team can take on, for no external person can understand the team to as well as it can understand itself and motivate itself toward efficient delivery of the expected results.

If the team views this point as a benefit rather than a burden, it can easily become one of the more highly effective teams contributing to the benefit of the organization. Therefore, the success of Agile depends on how best the team can organize itself and work as a self-motivating and self-driving force to successfully implement the method and avail itself of exclusive benefits reaped from the results it delivers.

Opinions represent those of the author and not of Scrum Alliance. The sharing of member-contributed content on this site does not imply endorsement of specific Scrum methods or practices beyond those taught by Scrum Alliance Certified Trainers and Coaches.

Article Rating

Current rating: 5 (3 ratings)


Mohua Ghosh, CSM, 1/20/2016 3:21:52 AM
Nice informative article.

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