More than 80 people attended AgilePalooza DC, hosted by VersionOne and our partners DevJam, Eliassen Group, and Lithespeed. AgilePaloozas are fun, low cost, community driven conferences for connecting the local agile community with local agile practitioners who are leading their companies through successful agile transformations and the most forward thinking thought leaders that are paving the way for the future of agile.

Our very own Jeff Cook and Matt Badgley gave a presentation on “Creating a Team — Sometimes All We Need is a Little Glue”.

Do you have people on your team that do not seem committed, get along, or want to be there? Well, you are not alone. According to Jeff and Matt, 70% of people admit to being part of a dysfunctional team.

So, what is the one simple question that can get team members to want to be part of your team, collaborate, and be committed to the team’s success?

The Question

You simply have to ask a question that shows you are interested in the person on your team. A question that begins a dialog between each team member about who they are as individuals. We all have different motivations, agendas, and goals as employees that may or may not be aligned. But, as human beings we typically all share some common interests or backgrounds.

As employees we are connected by common objectives and organizational hierarchies that may or may not be a motivation for us. But, as humans we are connected by common backgrounds and interests that help us relate to one another. Asking a question about a person’s background or interests helps break down the team member facade, reveals the real person, and strengthens the bond between each individual.

The next time you are asking yourself how committed a team member is to your project, turn the question around and ask yourself how committed you are to that person. Not everyone will dig deep to help a project succeed, but almost everyone will do whatever they can to help out someone they like. And, often all it takes to like someone, is to understand your common background and interests.

The 5-Day Challenge

In the presentation Jeff and Matt encouraged audience members to take a five- day challenge to ask their team one question a day that is not about work. Questions like:

  • What’s your favorite 80’s movie?
  • What do you hate to spend money on?
  • What was your favorite childhood toy?
  • What was your favorite TV show growing up?
  • What is the last book you read?

Conclusion

I hope this blog has inspired you to get to know the people on your team and to start asking questions that start building personal connections across your team. We encourage you to take the five-day challenge and see if you notice team members forming tighter bonds as a result.

If you would like to learn more about the 5-Day Challenge you can download the handout from the presentation.

Need more help for your agile team? Whether you are looking for introductory agile eLearning, ScrumMaster certification, or agile workshop courses, VersionOne can help. Our agile coaches are veteran practitioners ready to share their practical, hands-on experience.

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