Don’t mess with the team membership, redux

InfoQ picked up my post, Team Trap #1: Messing with the Membership, and contrasted it with Mike Cohn’s advice that a PO, manager or scrum master who observes that the team is too homogeneous might stick a couple of new team members to increase diversity on the team.

I would  advise a different approach.

First, talk to the team about what you observe. Describe the impact on results.

Engage the team in problem-solving.

If the most reasonable and feasible solution is adding team members with some important difference involve the team in the process (see Hiring for a Collaborative Team).

Adding new people on a team presents an integration problem.  The new team has to figure out how to work together.  When the new team members are quite different, it’s an even  bigger challenge. Better that the people who have to figure out how to work together have an investment in making the new arrangement work.  The investment will be much greater if the team had part in selecting the new members.

And where did the practice of voting someone off the team come from? That may be a good formula for reality TV shows, but not so good for psychological safety on a team.

I have seen teams help a person off the team. But that was a mature team and they didn’t vote.