We now move to a discussion of people skills (soft skills), which is a critical component in successfully interacting with or managing others. It is important that leaders, management, developers, and stakeholders possess the ability to get along and work well with others in a team environment. From the author’s perspective, the agile team needs to act professionally at all times and display a certain level of maturity. The agile project is team focused and must communicate on a face-to-face basis; the ability to negotiate effectively is mandatory. Following is an overview of several critical soft skills that are important on agile projects, particularly when engaging with stakeholders. The agile team (Product Owner, developers, and agile leader) must learn to use effective soft skills when dealing with others. (This list is not inclusive of all possible situations.)

• Listening to others • Negotiating • Addressing and resolving conflict • Utilizing emotional intelligence • Conducting effective meetings • Embracing diversity • Leading and managing effectively • Embodying the PMI Code of Ethics

Proper listening refers to understanding what another person “means” rather than what that person has “said.” The statement just made may not

Listening requires understanding what the person means because words can take on a variety of implications to different people. To gain a full understanding of what another person “means,” it may be necessary to focus on body language in order to understand what is really being conveyed by the person who is speaking. Good listening requires an analysis as to how the words are being said and whether emphasis is being placed on specific syllables. The meaning of words can also be obtained based on whether the person is speaking publicly or privately as this is an indication of how important the message may be. Finally, it is important to understand we don’t do our best listening when we are talking. It is a good idea to stop talking when we are trying to do our best job of listening.