Ways to Succeed in Role Flexibility with Agile [#RoleFlexibility]

Ways to Succeed in Role Flexibility with Agile [#RoleFlexibility]

1. Be fair
2. Be clear about overall purpose
3. Ensure roles are clear
4. Avoid roles that conflict
5. Consider team relationships
6. Provide support

1. Be fair
Be sure when asking people to perform multiple roles you are not simply asking them to do unreasonable amounts of work.

When people wear multiple hats, it should be within the boundaries of the position you are paying them to fulfill. Ensure the responsibilities are still appropriate to what you would ask one person to accomplish.

Asking people to be “multi-disciplinary” should not be a cover for asking them to do two or more jobs while they are paid for only one.

2. Be clear about overall purpose
When people are performing their work, they need clarity about the big picture—the purpose of the work. This is especially true when people are fulfilling multiple roles.

A clear sense of “the why” for the work acts as a north star. So even when there are shifts and changes in tasks over time, there is continuity of the overall purpose.

Also ensure line of sight to allow employees to understand how their role contributes to the team and, ultimately, connects to the customer. Regularly clarify purpose and reconfirm the why of the work.

3. Ensure roles are clear
When people perform multiple roles, they will need to understand each one.

Be clear about the success factors for the roles you are asking them to perform and let them know under what conditions they should shift from role-to-role.

By providing guidance and boundaries, you’ll free them up to make decisions about when to fulfill key roles and empower them to be fluid in applying their skills.

4. Avoid roles that conflict
It can be stressful for people to perform roles that have opposing characteristics of success.

For example, a responsibility that necessitates a lot of customer contact may require the team member to be away from the group. If you are also asking that person to take on work which requires a lot of hands-on time with the team, it will be difficult for them to be successful.

Either shift the shared roles so they are not in conflict or set clear boundaries around the conditions under which they’ll be performing each set of responsibilities.

5. Consider team relationships
Be sure roles on the team do not put people in awkward situations with colleagues.

One of the most challenging positions for employees can be to take on a leadership role for team members who were previously peers.

It is good to promote people, and often this means they may lead a team of which they were previously a member.

However, if you are asking people to shift between leading at times and simply contributing at other times, this may introduce confusion for everyone involved. Instead, build a culture on the team where leadership is emergent.

Different people can step forward when their skills are most relevant to the project. In addition, be clear when individuals have formal leadership responsibility and when they do not.

6. Provide support
When you are asking people to be flexible in the roles they are performing, be sure you are providing the right support for the flexibility you are demanding.

When people feel they have a lot of capacity, they tend to be able to handle more demands.

You can increase people’s perceptions of their capacity by ensuring they have support for learning and skill development, plenty of recognition and a culture that fosters purpose and strong relationships.

Be fair and be clear about purpose and responsibilities. Ensure roles are not in conflict and do not inadvertently introduce difficult relationships with team members. Provide support so people are not overwhelmed by multiple roles.

Putting people first and ensuring work is aligned with what is best for employees will pay off for individuals, teams and the company.

Agile And Role Flexibility: 6 Ways To Help People Succeed When They’re Wearing Multiple Hats
Forbes

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