Agile team building refers to activities and exercises designed to improve collaboration, communication, and bonding between team members on agile software development teams. With more teams working remotely and virtually, agile team building activities can help unite distributed team members.
Agile Team Building Activities: Exercises, games, and initiatives to build trust, collaboration, and communication between agile team members.
Virtual Teams: Teams that work remotely and collaborate primarily online rather than face-to-face.
Background on Agile Team Building for Virtual Teams
Agile methods like Scrum emphasize cross-functional collaboration. Teams must work closely together to deliver working software iteratively. However, virtual teams lack the in-person interactions that facilitate teamwork.
Virtual agile team building activities create opportunities for team bonding and unity. They can be conducted during sprint retrospectives, at team workshops, or as standalone activities. These exercises help establish trust and improve communication channels between distributed team members.
Maximizing Agile Team Building for Virtual Teams
To get the most out of virtual agile team building:
- Schedule dedicated time for activities rather than trying to multitask
- Use video conferencing so team members can see each other
- Mix up groups so team members interact with different combinations of people
- Incorporate icebreakers to allow team members to share personal details and find common ground
- Follow up after activities to discuss insights and improvements
The Value of Agile Team Building for Virtual Teams
Effective agile team building activities provide many benefits for virtual teams:
- Improved trust and bonding between team members
- Better communication and collaboration across locations
- Increased engagement and morale from fun activities
- Identification of team weaknesses to address through retrospectives
- Greater sense of unity and purpose despite geographic distribution
Features and Benefits of Agile Team Building Activities
Agile team building activities have unique features that deliver specific benefits:
- Icebreakers: Get to know each other better; learn personal details.
- Fun competitions: Encourage friendly rivalry; energize and engage team members.
- Trust exercises: Foster deeper connections and ability to rely on each other.
- Storytelling: Practice sharing ideas and experiences; improve narrative skills.
- Problem-solving activities: Build critical thinking, creativity, and teamwork.
- Reflection exercises: Identify areas for team improvement through retrospectives.
5 Tips for Using Agile Team Building Activities
Follow these tips to maximize the impact of virtual agile team building:
- Schedule activities frequently – e.g. monthly or quarterly. Consistency is key.
- Vary the format – alternate between competitions, discussions, problem-solving, etc.
- Involve different team members in leading/facilitating activities.
- Set ground rules together to ensure psychological safety.
- Debrief after activities to capture key insights and takeaways.
5 Example Agile Team Building Activity Strategies
- Two truths and a lie icebreaker
- Digital scavenger hunt to learn tools and systems
- Remote escape room requiring teamwork to “break out”
- Personality type assessment and discussion
- Storytelling activity where members share career stories
Dedicated time for agile team building activities helps unite distributed team members through improved trust, communication, and camaraderie. Virtual teams should leverage online tools to engage in regular team building exercises that maximize collaboration, problem-solving, and relationship building. Agile team building activities lead to greater cohesion, effectiveness, and job satisfaction for virtual teams.