Cohesion is the coordination to form a unity and cohesion in teams is the power which keeps them united to pursue their common objective and goals. Teams without cohesion are no more than groups which makes‍‍ ‍performance of a team as well as satisfaction of team members is directly proportional to its cohesiveness which means that if a team is highly cohesive, it will produce a better performance because all the activities being carried out within any team are interconnected (Carron et al, 2002).

Overview‍‍


Agile teams are self-organised team that consists of developers, analyst etc‍,having more focus on the goals and activities than titles or designations. ‍Togetherness is a strong relationship between the leadership and cohesiveness which is more focused and matured,creates more cohesion among the team members‍‍ (Wendt et al, 2009). Contrary, an agile team, ideally being a leaderless team of experts with no glittery titles or any formal leader would need cohesion more than any other team. This aspect makes this article interesting to uncover and understand the forms, patterns and level of cohesion existing in agile teams because ‍‍they work‍ together‍ and if there is no cohesion among the team members then this agility factor will disappear resulting the team as an ordinary group.

Cohesion Factors in Agile Team


Cohesion increases as the team progresses through different stages of team formation,This linear fashioned progress shows different levels of extent. How much team members like each-other and respect one another's opinions (Bright Hub Inc., 2012). Agile teams being a high performance teams consist of generalised experts who may also suffer dynamics at team formation stages. But once the agile team gets into the norming or performing stage, how can it achieve cohesion with out a team leader and be able to work in efficient way?
The following factors will help build team cohesion in agile teams.
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  1. Communication: Frequent and productive interaction among agile team members should be maintain by ensuring effective communication in agile teams. Different communication methods and factors affecting the communication can also play an important role in this aspect.
  2. Trust: Although, experience and domain knowledge matters but elimination of formal titles in agile teams makes everyone equal expert. This trust factor has a backbone role in agile teams because of Continuous Integration being done in the team so agile team members should trust as well as expert opinion of other team members to increase the cohesion in the team.
  3. Conflict Management: This factor is opposite to cohesion and can harm the integrity of the team very quickly. As there is no formal leader in the team so project manager or agile coach should step forward in timely manner to resolve such conflicts and issues (Adkins, 2010).
  4. Team Size: Agile team size is usually restricted to 7-9 people which has a logic behind it (Leffingwell, 2009). The chances of conflicts among the members increase as the size of team increases and especially when team is leaderless then chaos can be anticipated. So, agile team size should contribute towards conflict management rather being source of it.
  5. Homogeneity: All the team members are usually experts in agile teams which has almost same domain knowledge and expertise required for the task being carried out (Bright Hub Inc., 2010). This factor of similarity among the team members can be effectively used to create cohesions and motivation in agile team.

Importance of Cohesion‍


Whitworth and Biddle (2007) explains the following characteristics of agile team related to team cohesion.
  1. Team Cohesion and Performance: According to Weick and Roberts (1993), effectiveness of a team is as a result of interrelated activities based on a given mentality or collective consciousness when members see their action as interrelated. High cohesion group exhibits a significant relationship with performance (Corron et all, 2002; Mullen and Copper 1994, cited in Mach, Dolan and Tzafrir, 2010). This is because high cohesion team tends to be more united, trust and committed to success of the team than low cohesion team characterized by mistrust, individualism and luck of commitment. This explain why team cohesion performs better than the sum of individual performance and also why brilliant individual performers put together in a group without cohesion will under performed.
  2. Ease of Interaction:‍ This aspect is related to enjoyment and excitement in agile team with cohesion was the ease and speed by which team member could make everything down; problems were solved; questions were answered and collaborative opportunities were quickly grasped. In addition, the agile team was instantly considerable as a pleasant organization to work for the people, including the project developers, project manager and everyone involved. This way had fewer crises and is easy to shares with the good ideas of what it really takes to deliver what client is asking for, also agile teams allows for simplicity and facilitation in which group member ensure that work is done successfully.
  3. A Clear Objective: ‍ The main valuable factor of agile team in supporting cohesive teamwork was that it provides a clear team goal. The project team can deliver the most business value to the customer after every cycle and contribute on developing quality code. Moreover, the definite team goals from team perspective encourage everyone to work, to achieve those goals.A clear goal and vision is set allowing for cohesion among teams members ensuring a common goal is achieved and giving opportunity for developer to provide and deliver a quality product and services to their customers within the constraint of time and budget.
  4. The Project planning: The agile team with cohesion was benefit to the project planning. Project participants are part of the team process allowing them to negotiate to create a plausible plan to develop the project, which are valuable as means of creating team agreement and are seen to greatly decrease the tension and conflict. In addition, collective participation to support individual involvement and engagement strongly. And the agile practices of allowing members to estimate their owe stories, planning, which leaded to the individual pace and team pace highly synchronized and avoided too difficult or too easy for individuals. Lastly, iteration-based plans with a life span of a week, two week or a month increased the developer’s perception of the current situation. And flexible and short team plans are followed more relaxed for the team members and reduce the preoccupation with personal task and goals. Agile practices such as planning games allows cohesion of participants like the customers and the developer to prioritize and plan procedure to create a suitable means of actualizing the customer needs.
  5. Regular Iterative Delivery: The characteristic of agile teams supported by team cohesion leads to good regular iterative delivery. Slipping the development activities into small iterations increased motivation and enjoyment surrounding the project activity, and also made the members work together for same goal increase cohesion within the group. Furthermore, iterative delivery ensured the majority developer would always be working on the main sections. And the developer had to delivery products at the end of iteration, which increased the sense of urgency in team interaction and helped the members eliminating differences. Lastly, because of the iteration products, the customer can obtain a section of project product, which leaded to feedback from customer instantly and helped to improving quality and customer satisfaction.Iteration of a week improve cohesion in agile teams and necessitate efficient teams communication,ability to put side personal issues in order achieve a common goal.
  6. Group Thinking: Cohesion in agile teams leads to success in the activities carried out among the group,this is because agile methods supports working together‍ with collective ownership.
  7. Finally agile team cohesion allows collective team culture such as stability,personal security and control within the unit to ensure that each team members role in an iteration is properly defined and interpreted.

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CONCLUSION


There is a saying that a " House divided among itself can not stand". Team with out cohession will not be able to perform effectively and efficiently. A football players consisting of all stars who are not playing as a group will be beating by a group consisting of amateur players but playing as a team. Team with cohesion, there is trust, motivation and effective communication and share vision and goals. our conceptual frame work is based on the agile planning games played during one of the classes.

External Links:


http://www.articleoutlook.com/what-is-team-cohesion/
http://www.springerlink.com/content/q67x03r867215040/
http://scholar.google.co.uk/scholar?q=cohesion+in+agile+teams&hl=en&as_sdt=0&as_vis=1&oi=scholart&sa=X&ei=1zJXT_m2GqGn0QXrtrHTDQ&ved=0CB4QgQMwAA
http://dl.acm.org/citation.cfm?id=1768973
http://www.ldoceonline.com/dictionary/team_1
http://sgr.sagepub.com/content/34/1/101
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0950584908001080

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