Connections between agile way of working, team coherence and well-being at work

In this study we investigate how agile ways of working are associated with team coherence and well-being at work. Agile principles hold many promises in relation to well-being at work. Agile principles, such as ‘promote sustainable pace’; ‘best results emerge from self-organized teams’; and ‘teams reflect regularly when and how to improve’ are connected to well-being at work. However, balancing resources and workload is a labor-intensive and error-prone task, and thus, there is a risk to self-intensification and a threat to work-life balance. We propose that it is the way agile practices are applied that determines the connections between agile methods and well-being at work (see Porschen 2012). Sherehiy (2008) suggests that if the management implements agile strategies in a way that positively affects job autonomy, job uncertainty, and employees’ collaboration, it is more likely that employees will be able to perform their job in an adaptive and flexible way. On the other hand, it has also been shown that an agile team could attain its flexible way of working only with the autonomy of the team (Briand & Hodgson 2011).

In this study we investigate how perceived agile practices are associated with team coherence and work load. We examined four case organizations where agile methods had already been in place for a few years. The case companies represent innovative companies in the front line of digitalized services, products and processes. Teams operating within the context of agile are characterized as multifunctional, dynamic, and cooperative. The survey was conducted on perceived agile work, team coherence, and experienced work load. The agile practices observed here represent five dimensions of agile way of working: Continuous orientation practices, Incrementation, Iteration, Continuous improvement, and Customer relations. The items are based on ideas from the Agile Manifesto and the PAM Scale (see Tuomivaara et. al 2015). Team coherence included 8 items and work load was measured with 7 items. The results indicate that team coherence is associated with perceived agile way of working. They also show that agile way of working generate sources and potentials for well-being at work from the viewpoint of work load.

Tuomivaara, S., Ala-Laurinaho A., Ylisassi, H., Valtanen, E. (Finnish Institute of Occupational Health):  Connections between agile way of working, team coherence and well-being at work

In Susanna Järvelin-Pasanen (ed):  NES2016 – Ergonomics In Theory and Practise – Proceedings of 48th Annual Conference of Nordic Ergonomics and Human Factors Society, 2016