Digital skills alone do not a successful digital team make

Team sitting around a table working on a project together

Written by Gordon Coe, Digital Director at Methods Digital

I don’t really believe in digital teams.

I believe in people. And the digital part of a service is only one part of the overall end-to-end service. It’s a delivery mechanism. Of course, you need digital expertise in your team but make sure it’s supplemented by other skills, and by enthusiasm, honesty and openness and a willingness to learn.

Giving teams a clarity of purpose…

helps them to understand why they are there and what they should be aiming for. Spend time at the outset investigating and communicating why you’re doing it. Get the team to buy into it and to define their roles.

Don’t fall into the trap of thinking agile will solve all your problems.

The adoption of agile is different in every organisation and I’ve seen it work well and fail disastrously. Introducing agile doesn’t make a good team – but it does lead to good habits around sharing information, working and planning iteratively, embracing change and continuously improving. Spend some time understanding the principles behind an agile approach rather than just copying it rote from a book.

Focus on the soft stuff

Focus on spending time with new members of the team to get them up to speed. Focus on ensuring everyone is talking to each other – daft stuff, random stuff, work stuff, personal stuff. Let peoples’ personalities come out and let them enjoy being part of the work. Go for team drinks, bring in doughnuts but make people feel valued and appreciated.

Make sure your team can communicate and collaborate

The way people communicate with one another within the team and outwardly to the rest of the organisation means so much. Body language, relationship building – make every effort to ensure the team is co-located because that intangible stuff all happens when you’re together. But if you can’t do that then invest in your communications – whether that’s high-quality video conferencing and/or regular visits to the other location. People won’t feel part of the team if you don’t treat them as part of the team.

Give people thinking time

If you want your team to innovate then you need to give them the time and space to do it. That could mean inviting product holders and developers to user research labs. It could mean facilitated workshops with other areas of the business. New ideas are the lifeblood of future work, but innovation just happens – it can’t be planned for – so better make sure your culture allows for it.

This article was originally published here.


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