laurapowers Laura M. Powers

The Power of Play:

Transforming Agile Teams

Does a group play because they are a team? Or are they a team because they play?  From hockey teams to agile teams worldwide – the defining factor in a team’s success is often how well the individuals come together to achieve a shared goal.   In 1965, Bruce Tuckman proposed a model for team development – forming, storming, norming and performing.  When the team finally gets to performing – we’ll celebrate – often with play as a group.


But what if play itself is a critical factor in transforming a group of people into a high performing team?  Recent research indicates that play is not a by-product of a great team.  It is actually a critical catalyst.  Play supports higher and more stable team performance, better problem-solving, stronger decision-making, increased resiliency in the face of failure, and greater flexibility when things inevitably change.   In other words – play is a natural antidote for the challenges of the modern business world.


In this fast-paced talk, we will explore the world of play.  Based on the National Bestseller “Play” by Stuart Brown, M.D. – this talk examines the recent research on the benefits of play and the alignment of modern business play with the Agile Manifesto and Tuckman’s Teaming model.  We’ll review the eight “play personalities” proposed by Dr. Brown with practical applications for how they can help transform agile teams.


About Laura M. Powers

laurapowersWith 25 years of engineering and management experience, Laura has been involved in the design of aircraft engines, diapers, electric cars, as well as software systems at Hewlett Packard,, and eBay. Ironically, the Lean concepts practiced eons ago at the start of her career have migrated into the world of software! As the founder of Powered By Teams, Laura uses proven frameworks, including Agile, to help teams create extraordinary results and exponential success while experiencing fun & joy.


Laura holds a B.S. and M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Virginia Tech, as well as certifications as a Certified Scrum Professional, Certified ScrumMaster, Certified Scrum Product Owner, Certified Trainer of Training from the Back of the Room, and Certified Trainer and Master Practitioner of Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP).

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