For teams to function smoothly, all team members must remain aligned on project plans. Formulating working agreements is an effective way of bringing about a consensus among your team. This article will discuss working agreements and how you can create one for your team. Keep reading to find out more!
What Is A Working Agreement?
A working agreement is a document that details the requirements for a project about team effort. Essentially, it is an explicit assertion of the norms, goals, and working style to be followed by a team. It aligns all the team members regarding their expectations from each other. Such consensus helps boost the productivity of your team and reduces conflict.
Features Of An Effective Working Agreement
Here are some traits that a good working agreement would have.
1. It is visible to all.
Your team’s working agreement must be displayed somewhere public where everyone can see it. It must have a large font so that no one misses noticing it.
2. It is collaborative.
The best working agreements are the ones where every team member’s suggestions have been incorporated. Creating a plan amongst the leaders and dumping them on the team is not the ideal way to go about working agreements.
3. It is frequently updated.
Team goals and values can change in the middle of a project due to various factors. You must ensure that your working agreement is updated accordingly.
How To Build A Working Agreement?
Here are some steps you and your team can take to build a working agreement.
This involves asking your team members questions regarding their experiences working in a team at any point in their lives. Check-in questions might sound like, “What do you think led to the success of your previous team?” This activity helps the team understand the emotional state of their peers.
#2 Get your team to communicate their needs
As a team leader, you must ensure that all your team members get the opportunity to speak their minds. Give a chance to each team member to speak and let you know their needs and expectations from your team. This will help you take a collaborative approach toward building the working agreement.
#3 Reach agreements and conclusions
Give space to your team members to grasp and reflect on all the discussions before coming to any conclusion. Five to ten minutes of silence to contemplate is a good way to start. Consensus is crucial for any team activity, so ensure everyone is on board with the final decisions.
#4 Enhance your working plan
Keep asking more questions to your team members to enrich your working agreement. Try to include as many team needs as you can within the plan so that you can be ready any time a possibility of conflict arises.
#5 Get your team committed
Make your team verbally commit to the agreements and get them to sign the document. This ensures that everyone is aware of the working plan.
Iteration is the key to creating a good working agreement, so don’t forget to keep updating the document. We hope this article will help you build an effective working agreement with all your team members.