Die Agile Team Reise

What is an agile team?

Unlike a Scrum team, an agile team has no fixed definition. But if agility is defined as the ability to take uncertainty out of product development or any other initiative in short and regular cycles, then an agile team is a team that can do exactly that.

Whether they are using Scrum, Think Tank or Scrum, an agile team has no fixed definition.

Whether they use Scrum, Kanban, Design Thinking, or even a completely self-developed approach is secondary at this point. As long as a team is able to perceive uncertainty - e.g., characterized by many assumptions regarding the needs of customers - and proceed accordingly empirically, this team can be called an "Agile Team."

Many of these teams show certain patterns e.g. are cross-functional and usually also self-organized or self-managed. We explain why these two characteristics can be elementary further down this page.

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How does an agile team work?

Depending on the task, the members as well as the activities in the team can differ greatly from those of a typical Scrum team. While the Scrum Guide lists only three agile roles (Scrum Master, Product Owner and Developer), an agile team can contain a variety of different roles and functions.

The focus in daily work is on the application of agile methods, tools & processes. This means that, for example, tasks that arise can largely be completed within the group, so that there is no waiting time or idle time for individual employees.

Within an agile organization, these teams can form in any area of the company. The starting point is usually software development, where topics such as Lean, Agile and Scrum are already much better known than in other areas of the company. In the meantime, there are teams working according to agile principles such as lean or Scrum, but also in marketing, finance, HR or controlling, and also production, logistics or research.

Agile teams do not have a firmly defined area of work or expertise in which they can arise. Rather, it is a question of the company and the organizational culture whether and, if so, how they emerge and develop.

Agility and agile working in this case often means that agile working methods are applied and decisions are made flexibly within the agile team and not hierarchically "from above". Leadership rather takes place in a different context and often through Agile leadership. The interdisciplinary staffing of an agile team also enables the fastest possible decision-making, made with the greatest expertise and supported by the entire team. In this context, the collective responsibility leads to a fast, successful and highly competitive way of working with a sustainable pace and consistent workload of the team members.

What are agile ways of working?

Once again, there is no one way of working that makes a team fast, agile, flexible and successful. Rather, it is the ability of all members to apply different agile ways of working and frameworks such as Kanban, Design Thinking, Lean or Scrum when needed for projects.

The term "agility" here does not explicitly refer to an optimization of time-to-market, the application of agile management and working methods, and the use of agile tools, but to the work as a whole. This is primarily a challenge in the leadership of these teams.

Agile leadership methods vary between several leadership forms (see our articles on Expert, Achiever and Catalyst Leader). This means that an agile leader should be as situational as team members are in development, decision-making, or project management.

Agile organizations do not lead using to-do lists, top-down management, or a fixed goal. Rather, agile work offers employees freedom in the process and tool of their daily work.


How do agile teams work?

In approach, agile teams are usually very similar, although roles and methods differ depending on the focus of the work. It is also important to note that an agile team does not have to be a Scrum team or work according to Scrum, for example. The term "agile" here refers to the type of teamwork, the techniques and tools used, the environment, the working methods and the common understanding of the agile way of working.

Agile teams do not work in a top-down structure with predefined annual goals but with customer needs and fast cycles. A classic project

management approach is replaced here. by agile frameworks such as Kanban, Scrum or other agile forms of work, such as the agile framework often referred to as the Spotify model.

In addition, these are small teams with a maximum of ten, but more often only five to seven members. This small number of team members results in short decision-making paths, fast organization, and efficient completion of work steps.

Team Members

Who belongs on an agile team?

First and foremost, team members should be open to agile working and agile teamwork. In addition, it is important that individuals have a high degree of personal responsibility and they are willing to work in an interdisciplinary team. Furthermore, team members should be familiar with agile methodologies such as Design Thinking, Kanban, Lean and Agile Leadership so that they can choose the appropriate framework for the situation. The ability to work iteratively and incrementally as well as the approach using Minimum Viable Product should also be present in the members.

When leading the team, the manager acts more as a coach and sparring partner instead of a hierarchical superior. The goal is for all employees to learn how best to use their skills through a decentralized leadership style, and thus find a solution to any challenge.

Image: the Agile Academy's Scrum Developer Journey

Team Structure

How to build an agile team

In principle, various processes can be applied here to find out which employees should drive Agile project management or Agile transformation in the company. The transformation from classic project management to more agile corporate­structures requires a willingness for change.

Often, agile teams emerge as a "grassroots movement" in software development. Here, for example, it is Scrum developers who begin to apply techniques such as Extreme Programming or rituals from Scrum. If the new behaviors are seen as a success because there is a benefit to the organization, many companies roll out the new mechanisms to other teams and perhaps even entire divisions.

Maybe there is already someone among the team members who is familiar with agile work and/or individuals are attending a course. However, in order for agile teams to be successful and not fail due to the structures in the company, support from management is also needed above all.

Only when management, leadership and the company as a whole have understood the benefits of agile work and implement this holistically can the agile transformation and the introduction of agile corporate structures be successful.

Training for agile teams

With agile values to a better project outcome

At the Agile Academy, we offer several trainings to help you perform your best as a member of an agile project team.

Scrum Foundations Live Training

Start your agile journey with Scrum Alliance's Scrum Foundations training (live) and learn about ds framework to find out when you can best use Scrum profitably.

Scrum Foundations

Become an agile team member with e-learning

Enjoy our self-paced agile online courses from the comfort of your office, home, or a beach in the Seychelles... We created our e-learning courses with the intention of making learning easier and more sustainable. So dive in, learn, ask questions, ... And let us know how you liked it.

Scrum Foundations

This free Scrum Foundations online course is the perfect way to get started right now, even if you're not quite sure if the Scrum Master Journey is for you.

You'll learn about the context of Agile and the popular Scrum framework, and learn more about Scrum events, artifacts, and the Scrum team.

Scrum Foundations

Agile Fundamentals

This free Agile Fundamentals self-paced course is the perfect place to start if you want to explore agile in your role as a leader.

The course will help you gain a deeper understanding of what agile means, how the most common frameworks and approaches work, and how you can become more agile yourself by using them.

Agile Fundamentals

Your Scrum Developer Journey

Are you a developer in the Scrum Team? Then follow the Scrum Developer Journey of the Agile Academy


If you are a software developer, you have the chance for role-specific advanced training to become a Scrum Developer. The Certified SCrum Developer is the agile journey for developers at Scrum Alliance. This advanced training will educate you in both agile methods and your skills as a developer. Find out more here:

Image: Credential 'Advanced Certified Scrum Developer' by Scrum Alliance

The Beginning of Your Scrum Developer Journey

Scrum Developer®

Image: Credential 'Advanced Certified Scrum Developer' by Scrum Alliance

For Scrum Developers with professional experience.

Advanced Certified Scrum Developer℠

Image: Credential 'Certified Scrum Professional' by Scrum Alliance

Develop more than just the products.

Certified Scrum Professional®