Overhead image of an agile team with their hands in the centre of a circle

How to Select Team Members for an Agile Team

Teamwork makes the dream work. But a dysfunctional team can become a nightmare! Individuals tend to behave, contribute, and interact with others in particular ways when working as part of the team or group. So, a well balanced and agile team containing team members who each fill the role needed succeed more often than an unbalanced team. Balanced teams not only perform more effectively than unbalanced ones, but also allows individuals to explore their role flexibility for different compositions.

The following 9 types of team roles will be helpful for understanding and considering personality when forming new agile teams, evaluating why a team may be under-performing, exploring the strengths and weaknesses of existing teams, and matching team members to tasks.

1. The Innovator

“Finally, the end of software is here.” 

 Marc Beioff, Salesforce

Innovators thrive on opportunities to display creativity and will be the first to propose new ways of doing things. These individuals are free thinking and imaginative, but dislike being constrained, which can sometimes generate impractical ideas. Innovators prefer to leave the finer details to others.

Strengths: Creative, imaginative, free-thinking, generates ideas and solves difficult problems.

Weaknesses: Might ignore incidentals, and may be too preoccupied to communicate effectively.

2. The Social Investigator

“Success is empty if you arrive at the finish line alone. The best reward is to get there surrounded by winners.”

Howard Schultz, Starbucks

Social investigators are outgoing individuals with a keen investigative mind. These individuals are ideally suited to investigate ideas and locate the human resources required to develop them further. Social investigators are excellent networkers and adept communicators, using these skills to convince others of the importance of a project and guide them to share their knowledge.

Strengths: Outgoing, enthusiastic. Explores opportunities and develops contacts.

Weaknesses: Might be over-optimistic, and can lose interest once the initial enthusiasm has passed.

3. The Orchestrator

“In order to inspire people, that’s going to have to come from somewhere deep inside of you.”

Jeff Weiner, LinkedIn

Orchestrators are excellent at directing a team, without coming across as domineering. These natural leaders are capable of guiding others towards their tasks, dealing with objections, and gaining the respect of the team. Orchestrators understand the strengths and weaknesses of their team members and assign tasks to maximize the strengths. They are also seen as consultative and supportive in team situations.

Strengths: Mature, confident, identifies talent. Clarifies goals.

Weaknesses: Can be seen as manipulative and might offload their own share of the work.

4. The Collaborator

“I just really enjoy the process of working with other talented, creative people. There’s great power in bringing diverse points of view together.”

Mark Parker, Nike

Collaborators are the key to successful team projects. These individuals thrive on collaboration, and are open and helpful in team situations. Acting to calm outbreaks in team situations these cooperative and caring individuals will work to reduce tension so that tasks can be completed.

Strengths: Co-operative, perceptive and diplomatic. Listens and averts friction.

Weaknesses: Can be indecisive in crunch situations and tends to avoid confrontation.

5. The Driver

“We expect all our businesses to have a positive impact on our top and bottom lines. Profitability is very important to us or we wouldn’t be in this business.”

Jeff Bezos, Amazon

Drivers are very goal-focused and are constantly striving to achieve their targets. These individuals are excellent at overcoming obstacles and avoiding distractions. Drivers tend to be very action-oriented and driven. They tend to shake up teams that are suffering from a lack of drive, but they have the potential to cause disruption in teams that are already motivated.

Strengths: Practical, reliable, efficient. Turns ideas into actions and organizes work that needs to be done.

Weaknesses: Can be a bit inflexible and slow to respond to new possibilities.

6. The Initiator

“I think a simple rule of business is, if you do the things that are easier first, then you can actually make a lot of progress”

Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook

Initiators are practical and efficient individuals who are excellent at taking plans and implementing them. These individuals enjoy collaboration and are capable of managing subordinates. Initiators tend to work best with clear requirements and are comfortable working with detail. These individuals prefer proven ideas and methodology and may sometimes be viewed as inflexible.

Strengths: Practical, reliable, efficient. Turns ideas into actions and organizes work that needs to be done.

Weaknesses: Can be a bit inflexible and slow to respond to new possibilities.

7. The Appraiser

“I believe in innovation and that the way you get innovation is you fund research and you learn the basic facts.”

Bill Gates, Microsoft

Appraisers tend to be highly analytical individuals, and are suited to evaluate ideas and make critical, unbiased judgement on the effectiveness of these ideas. These individuals can come across as detached, but provide a useful and critical viewpoint on projects. Appraisers are also very useful at analysing problems and making suggestions.

Strengths: Sober, strategic and discerning. Sees all options and judges accurately.

Weaknesses: Sometimes lacks the drive and ability to inspire others and can be overly critical.

8. The Specialist

“Information about the package is as important as the package itself.”

Frederick W. Smith, FedEx

Specialists are the subject matter experts who bring in depth knowledge of a key area to the team. They contribute their wealth of experience and are the ones who make sure the team is set on a foundation of facts and best practice.

Strengths: Single-minded, self-starting and dedicated. They provide specialist knowledge and skills.

Weaknesses: Tends to contribute on a narrow front and can dwell on the technicalities.

9. The Finisher

“Lots of companies don’t succeed over time. What do they fundamentally do wrong? They usually miss the future.”

Larry Page, Google

Finishers are highly conscientious workers who thrive on seeing tasks through to completion. These individuals prefer to work on one task at a time, and enjoy being involved with the finer details of a project. Taking a systematic and orderly approach to completing projects, finishers like to work towards clearly defined goals with definitive starts and finishes and with little ambiguity. Finishers do not enjoy distractions and may demonstrate some signs of strain when under pressure.

Strengths: Painstaking, conscientious, anxious. Searches out errors. Polishes and perfects.

Weaknesses: Can be inclined to worry unduly, and reluctant to delegate.


Each of the different roles or types have their own unique strengths and weaknesses that they bring to an agile team. Understanding these strengths and weaknesses can help you in developing a balanced team of people. It will also assist with the recognition of potential problems that may arise.

In deciding the responsibilities of each member, predicting the roles that people naturally tend to take will be a great help. Therefore, if you know which role each team member enjoys fulfilling before forming an agile team, it can assist you in building the perfect agile team.

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