How to Choose the Perfect Agile Learning Project Team

agile learning project team

There’s no arguing with the fact that a shift from traditional project management techniques (or non-existent ones) to Agile can cause doubt and resistance amongst your team. People generally like sticking to what they know. So Agile Learning implementation is as much about effective change management as it is about the new processes and culture you’re attempting to put in place.

Part of a successful transition requires identifying internal champions who are fully committed to the success of your first Agile Learning project, thereby inspiring others to hop on the Agile bandwagon. But how can L&D managers identify those critical team members?

When it comes to defining individual Agile project team roles, you may need to take a closer look further down the line at who is best suited to what. But for your first training project using Agile Learning, there are a number of overarching attributes that all of your project team members should possess. 

So, here are the much-underestimated soft skills you should look out for when creating your first Agile Learning training project team. Each and every member should be:

1. Willing

In a survey by Forbes, 27% of senior executives described themselves as “highly agile.” This indicates that, whether formal Agile processes already exist in the organization or not, you may have several team members who already make conscious efforts to “work Agile” or recognize the importance of the Agile philosophy. 

Try to identify those people by looking at the way people currently work, particularly on their own tasks. Who is always willing to find a better way to do things and considers the streamlining of processes to be of critical importance? Who is rarely afraid to be wrong, but always willing to try? Those who come to mind when asking yourself these questions will be ideal candidates for the project team. 

2. Collaborative

Agile is highly collaborative. “People before processes” is a core concept of the philosophy as a whole.

So every member of your first Agile Learning project team must work well with others and be exceptional communicators. While this might seem obvious, it’s important to note that the nature of learning content development often requires that people spend hours at a time alone and focused on completing a task.

For your first Agile Learning project, lots of processes will be new and will have kinks that need to be worked out. It’s completely understandable that people will feel under pressure to deliver, too. So ensure your project team members are those who can keep a cool head and have a team-focused mindset.

50% of team members are motivated more by team success than by the company’s (27%) or personal goals (23%). You’re bound to find team-motivated individuals that are ideal for recruitment to your first Agile Learning venture.

Agile requires regular check-ins, feedback, and collaboration to ensure all these individual tasks are working towards a common goal. And with our new normal of remote work, it’s worth noting here that familiarization with (and willingness to use) collaborative technology is, therefore, a bonus. If you’re looking for collaborative software specifically for training teams, check out our instructional design software

agile team member

3. Autonomous

Another core component of the Agile philosophy is autonomous teams with a flat structure. Nobody is “in charge” (although there are Agile team roles that can be equated to a project manager). So it’s vital that your team members are able to self-organize with minimal oversight from management. 

Seek out those who regularly take the initiative. Avoid team members who require a lot of support with new tasks or processes. The time to onboard them to your new Agile Learning culture will come later. For your first project, you want only those who are independent thinkers.

4. Committed

Of course, employees are committed to doing a good job, but commitment to seeing a learning project through to completion is paramount. 

While there are most likely not any additional incentives or rewards for participating in a learning project, it’s imperative that L&D leaders step up people’s commitment by correlating expected outcomes with individual contributions. When people realize the potential impact of their individual contribution, they will feel more committed to seeing the project through.

zoom call

5. Flexible

You’re probably familiar with the concept that Agile has been built so that projects can withstand shifting priorities and react quickly to change. After all, it’s in the name.

So it is absolutely essential that the members of your first project are fully aligned with that philosophy. Flexibility doesn’t just mean accepting new direction, either. Look for employees who combine other related professional attributes including creativity, cooperation, responsiveness, and leadership, among others.

6. Eager

Perhaps by far the most important trait to look out for is enthusiasm. A team member can have all the other attributes on this list, but if they’re not eager to embrace a shift to formalized Agile Learning processes, the chances of failure are much higher.

You’ll probably have varying degrees of enthusiasm amongst your Agile Learning project team members, and that’s OK. By ensuring at least a portion of the team is highly enthusiastic about the change, the momentum will be kept up.

While the tried and true feels comfortable, try to identify employees for whom change is a breath of fresh air. This is about more than participants who simply keep an open mind for the first Agile Learning project; it’s about bringing excitement to a project in which the stakes (overall Agile Learning success) are pretty high.

For further reading on Agile Learning, check out this free ebook: The Beginner’s Guide to Agile Learning

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