Team building in agile teams make sense, here is Why?


Courtesy Image:

I am sure everyone approves diversity and agrees it should exist in a working group, to have wide-ranging and innovative solutions/products in today’s competitive edge. But what does it mean? Well the real buck starts when the team is formed and now the time is to do some actual work, together!

I often wondered what is the secret sauce or recipe to make these group work together. In fact its revealed in the movie ‘Kung Fu Panda‘, ‘that the long-withheld secret ingredient to his father’s famous “secret ingredient soup” is actually “nothing“, explaining that things become special if they are believed to be‘.

So, “There is no secret recipe”…! You have to believe and instill the trust and ownership within the team and the people within, this is where the magic happens!

Sticking to the core i.e. the scrum values, looking at them consciously, affirms to have a plan and a vision for the team to be at a desired state, where there is a need to perform optimally and create value. In order to live and breathe those values we need to embed them, treat them as a foundation, and to build the foundation and inevitable trust, one need to know each other at an extent that they accept each others differences and willingly desire to work with each other. Which connects me to the quote from the most appreciated book ‘The five dysfunctions of a team‘.

Remember team work begins by building trust. And the only way to do that is to overcome our need for invulnerability.

– Patrick Lencioni

This can be triggered in many ways such as inceptions, project/initiative briefs, sharing visions, problem to solve, introductions, sharing hobbies, ice breakers games etc. Additionally, investing into a team building event, making it more fun learning event for e.g. sharing personal stories, it goes beyond and here is where I believe is the first opportunity to seed-in the most required trust, with an intent that it becomes more stronger further developing into bonds. This is where and why team building makes sense, based on the ideology of great psychologist, Bruce Tuckman’s ‘stages of group developmenthelping the teams to have a vision for being self-organised and performing teams.

So why is it important, what happens if we didn’t invest in team building events?

In many instances, ignorance is bliss, unfortunately not in this case. One cannot promote bad behaviors, disrespectful treatments, bad influences in the team, as there are severe consequences of NOT addressing them and you pay the price by having unhappy individuals performing sub-optimally.

some of the basic pitfalls or slip-ups the team/s go thru are;

  • Fear
  • Poor communication
  • weak estimations, planning, testing
  • Ignoring customer feedback
  • Lack of empowerment, improvements
  • No provision to address employee resistance

Laying up the right foundations at the beginning, prevents many of the above.

So when is the right time and when should you consider team building activities?

Well its a journey, ideally should not stop until you meet the vision of the team, they are self organised and high performing, or the team chooses to diverge using different ways to do things or changing the project/initiative.

  • Forming a brand new team
  • New team member joins the team
  • Any time team morale is down
  • Any time team energy is flat

Team Building

Courtesy Image:

What would team gain by investing time in this ?

Some tangible benefits;

  • Build trust
  • Communicate well
  • Collaborate
  • Have a Functional conflict
  • Holds themselves accountable

Helps to build safe environments, plus to;

  • Understand the vision
  • Inspect and adapt
  • Accept, its OK to make mistakes
  • Have freedom to experiment, try new ways
  • Call out the wrong behaviors
  • Create simple agreed rules
  • Continual learning
  • Share success and failures

Few other ways to keep it glued throughout the journey;

  • Retrospectives games, visuals
  • Sharing food morning breakfast, afternoon snacks
  • Team lunches, barbecues, home cooked/baked
  • Team coffee’s
  • Birthday’s
  • Celebrations

This list can be more creative and overwhelming, when team understands the importance of it and are committed to live the values created together. This may not be welcomed by all the team members, you will need to find the balance i.e. how much is too much!!

Please share your thoughts, ideas, comments, I would love to hear diverse ways of keeping teams healthy and performing..


Shri is an pragmatic agilist, working as an coach and passionate about bringing people together for a purpose to work as one unit and create great outcomes. Focused to deliver customer eccentric business outcomes connected to strategy. Also a critical thinker to tailor solutions within given constraints and context. Sharing the goodies of agile way of doing things learnt from others and experiential learning. Lean thinker. Love the concept of learn fast and move forward towards working solutions. Also a believer in people being the most essential part of the whole equation, instilling trust and motivations help building great products and solutions.

To learn more about me or my blogs please visit

Follow me on twitter: @ShriTaralkar

To learn more about me or my blogs please visit

Follow me on twitter: @ShriTaralkar