Category Archives: teams

establishing the conditions for team success, team dynamics, skills for teams.

Building Effective Teams: Miss the Start, Miss the End

(This article originally appeared on Gantthead.com) “The beginning is the most important part of the work.” Plato, Greek philosopher and writer, 429–347 B.C.E. I’ve written several articles about a manager’s relationship with a team that has already formed. A manager’s relationship with a team as they work is essential for cultivating a self-organizing team and…

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Rethinking Manager’s Relationship with Agile Teams

This article originally appeared on gantthead.com  In the early days of agile, some pundits (and developers) cried, “We don’t need no stinking managers.” By now, most people realize that organizations still need management (and people in management roles) after they adopt agile methods. However, if those organizations want all the benefits of agile, managers must…

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Bridging Structural Conflict: Same and Different

No two people or groups are the same, but their differences don’t have to force them apart. I recently talked to two groups who were feuding. On one side were the development teams, tasked with delivering new functionality every two weeks. On the other were the operations folks, who were charged with keeping the environment…

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Peer-to-Peer Feedback

One of the traps people fall into on teams is withholding information that’s critical for the team to function. Sometimes the information is about friction between team members. When team members don’t have a way to talk about small frictions, they turn in to big events, damage relationships and spill over onto the team.  So…

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Real leaders make space for others to shine

I’ve seen a renewed cry for leaders in organizations lately. Too often in these discussions, the definition of “leadership” boils down to a role where one individual creates a vision for others to follow. That’s not enough. We need more leadership, not just more anointed or appointed leaders. “Leadership” is most potent when it’s a verb,…

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Are you part of the team if you are on the team part-time?

“Part-timers just don’t seem to fit in with the team,” a manager complained recently. “I do everything I can to impress on them the importance of teamwork and team spirit, but they just don’t gel with the team. What can I do to motivate these people to fit in?” “These people just aren’t accountable,” another…

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Dealing with “Difficult” Co-workers

We all have coworkers who rub us the wrong way, get on our nerves, and generally drive us crazy. Let’s consider these examples of three people who have difficult coworkers: 1. Ted finished working on a difficult bit of code and headed for the team meeting. When he got there, Sandy looked at her watch…

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A Tale of a Too-Hands-Off Manager

I recently worked with a team that was struggling. One of the team members, Tad, wasn’t playing by the rules the team had established. When the team formed, members agreed that each day they’d have a fifteen-minute stand-up meeting to report on progress. The team members agreed that they’d chunk their work into tasks that…

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Tale of a Yo-Yo Manager

There is much more to empowering a team than simply stating “You’re empowered.” Consider the three Ws of empowerment: “what,” “when,” and “why” when creating boundaries that define which decisions are the team’s and which need management approval. “I want you to be empowered,” Bob told his team at the team meeting. But several weeks…

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Is Collaboration the Right Way to Work? It Depends.

As a manager, your job is to organize people and work for success. That includes work design–figuring out whether you have a group or a team and creating an environment where people can do their best work. I don’t know about you, but work design wasn’t part of my training as a technical person, and…

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