Thursday, July 16, 2015

High Performance Teams: Standups, User Experience, Problem Recovery, Agile matter
by Ron Lichty

Standups matter - both effectiveness and frequency. Product teams that hold effective, daily standup meetings are more likely to be high performance teams, we learned this year in the 2015 Study of Product Team Performance, our fourth annual global study of product teams.

Other factors we found this year that correlate to high performance:
  • Successful Integration of User Experience professionals into the product development process
  • Quick Problem Recovery: all product teams experience unexpected problems, but team performance directly correlates with how quickly product teams can move past these issues
  • Strategic Decision-Making Aptitude: organizations that make strategic decisions - not just tactical ones - and have the discipline to stick with them tend to have more productive product teams

The 2015 Study of Product Team Performance, which we released today, identified these four new factors, adding them to 16 factors that emerged in previous years’ studies that correlate with teams performing at the highest levels.

In addition, we continued our survey of development methods. As in previous studies, we found more teams using blends of waterfall and agile than anything else - almost half say they blend waterfall and agile practices. But teams identify Agile as the route to product profitability - in numbers far greater than are actually using Agile. As has been true since we began asking the profitability question in 2013, almost half of the small percentage still using waterfall believe their product would achieve higher profitability using some other approach. Those trends continue in this year’s data.

This year we asked team members about their own gratification, as well as about turnover. While more than 63% of product team members indicate that they are either satisfied or extremely satisfied in their work, with only 12.3% saying they’re dissatisfied, nonetheless 54% of respondents have seen team turnover have a moderate to significant impact on their team’s ability to meet commitments and deliver products on time.

The study also revealed that product managers spend much less time in the field than their teammates believe they do.

Consistent with the correlation between user experience and high performance teams, product managers are held accountable for customer satisfaction more than any other metric.

The study is a self-reporting one. Team members are asked to identify if they experience their team as high performing and to share their experiences and approaches.

Returning to the four new factors that this year’s statistical analysis correlated with high performance teams, there is significant discrepancy between those factors and the numbers of teams actually achieving those factors:
    ▪    only 22% of respondents report holding effective standups daily
    ▪    a fifth of respondents don’t believe User Experience even reports into the right department in their organizations
    ▪    only 35.4% of respondents said their teams quickly rally and move past unforeseen issues
    ▪    only 36.9% of respondents said their teams are good at making and sticking with strategic decisions

Take a look at my own short summaries of prior year studies, as well as download the free 2015 Study here:
It’s been intriguing and sometimes truly incisive stuff that we’ve learned from all of you. Thank you.

And many thanks to lead author Greg Geracie and my co-contributing-authors David Heidt, Matt Jackson and Sean Van Tyne - as well as special thanks to this year’s study sponsors, ProjectConnections and SensorSix!


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