Filling a Team Position

Many job descriptions focus on skills—usually technical skills. Interpersonal skills may get a passing mention—“strong communication skills,” “collaboration,” or “teamwork.”  But when you are filling a team position, you have to think both more...

Re-Teaming, Not Churn

In response to a tweet on the benefits of stable teams, someone asked whether I’m against changing teams (aka re-teaming) in response to business needs. I am not.  I’m against churn.  There are plenty of good reasons to re-form teams to meet organizational...

Creating an Environment for Teams Assessment

Do you want the benefit of the team effect?  Engagement Creativity Results that are greater than the sum of the parts Great teams aren’t the result of some magic and mysterious chemistry.   While you can’t guarantee that a group of people will gel...

Assessing Team Improvement

Managers who have invested effort and money in training teams in Agile methods want to see team improvement–reasonable enough. I describe a handful of measures that indicate the organization is improving over all in posts( here and here. Some of these...

Coaching Beyond the Team: Influencing the Organization

On-Site Workshop | Public Workshop Coaching Beyond a Team Agile coaches and Scrum Masters face many challenges. They have no authority to insist people listen or do, yet managers and executives expect organization-wide results from their activities. Furthermore, many...

Coaching Teams

On-Site Workshop Coaching Teams A Workshop for Scrum Masters, Agile Coaches, and Team Leads   Make the most of your coaching. Sixty percent of the variation in team productivity comes from how well a team is designed and supported. Team effectiveness is the...

Hiring is a Team Activity

Hiring new people for a team should always be a joint decision that involves team members. After all, who has more at stake than the people who will work with the new person day in and day out? Consider what happened when a well-intentioned manager decided to hire...

The Costs of a Struggling Team

Last week, I posted a mind map that shows the benefits of the team effect.  But what about the costs of a team that is not doing well?  A team that isn’t working well doesn’t have a neutral effect. A struggling team costs the people and the organization in...

The Team Effect

A while back, I posted a little mind map about business costs of a struggling team.  But what about the benefits of the team effect?  What does a business gain when teams thrive?

Agile Teams at Scale: Beyond Scrum of Scrums

Agile methods depend on effective cross-functional teams. We’ve heard many Agile success stories…at the team level. But what happens when a product can’t be delivered by one team?  What do you do when the “team” that’s needed to...

Hiring for a Team: 4 Reasons to Up Your Hiring Game

Many companies have policies that govern the selection and hiring process for new employees. Not a bad thing.  But I’ve noticed that in many of the companies I visit–especially the big ones–the guidelines put far less rigor around hiring people for...

Building Effective Teams: Miss the Start, Miss the End

A managers role regarding effective teams starts long before the work actually begins. It starts with team designing and forming the team. The 60-30-10 Principle J. Richard Hackman, studied teams for decades. One of his most significant findings is that 60% of the...

6 Ways to Support Team-Based Work

Many of the companies I work with want the benefit of the team effect in software development. The managers in these companies recognize the enormous benefits teams provide to the company–creativity, engagement, learning. They want to support team-based work....

A Manager’s Guide to Building a Relationship with the Team

“A talented employee may join a company because of its charismatic leaders, its generous benefits, and its world class training programs, but how long that employee stays and how productive he is while there is determined by his relationship with his immediate...

Three Ways to Foster Team Responsibility

How can managers support teams to truly support team responsibility? In the early days of Agile, some pundits (and developers) declared, “We don’t need no stinking managers.” They asserted that if teams were self-managed, management work was waste....

Team Norms, Working Agreements, and Simple Rules

What’s the purpose of team values, norms, working agreements, and simple rules? Bob Sutton posted a piece on Team Guidelines that got me thinking how team values can be shaped and influenced. The guidelines–all Mom and Apple Pie–were handed down by a...

5 Sources of Team Conflict

Conflict is inevitable at work. Sooner or later, people will disagree. Might be about what to test or how to implement a feature. Team members may disagree about what “done” means, or whether “always” means 100 per cent of the time or some thing else. If...

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...

6 Enabling Conditions for Teams

A team is a social unit, a group of people who work collaboratively to accomplish some goal. Every team is a group of people, but not every group of people is a team. I hear the term applied loosely–describing anything from a collection of individual...

The Problem with Part-Time Team Members

“These part-time people just aren’t accountable,” a manager complained. “I need people who will be accountable.” “Part-timers just don’t seem to fit in with the team,” another manager declared. “I do everything I...

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