Agile teams are the way to go – right? That may not be the correct conclusion according to this research team. Many large agile initiatives not only miss their goals but also cause organizational disruption, such as staff burnout, loss of key talent, and infighting. What’s gone wrong? With the help of organizational network analysis (ONA)—a methodology for mapping how people collaborate—the authors identify three kinds of critical contacts: ‘Brokers’ who speak the language of disparate groups and instinctively look for ways to connect ideas across the company; ‘Central Connectors’ who have extensive working relationships with peers, subordinates, and managers throughout their part of the company; and ‘Domain Experts’ who have subject-matter knowledge that an agile team needs temporarily to tackle challenges. By taking the reality of collaborative networks into account when creating agile teams, companies can avoid overload, avert potential disruptions, and achieve their objectives.

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