Art and Science of a Great Team

Everyone seems to be searching for that ellusive “Great Team”. For me that means teams that demonstrate self-organization. Dan James @ CEO Blues has an interesting blog entry called “The Art and Science of a Great Team“. Although about teams in general, many of his suggestions for fostering a great team are well taken for software teams.

He points out that a CEO/President can’t create great teams, only influence the conditions for what sounds like self-organization to me:

“What most corporations, organizations, board of directors, churches, CEOs, presidents, prime ministers and all other creators of teams forget is that you can’t decide to make a great team. By waking up in the morning and deciding “I’m going to make a great team” you almost certainly curse yourself to not being able to do so. Teams happen, they don’t get created. If leaders could learn to recognize when a team is starting to happen instead of focusing on creating teams they would have a much better success record.”

I really like his emphasis on having fun, too:

“It often looks like a great team isn’t working they’re having so much fun. They are working and they are having fun. The two are one in the same. That’s what makes them so productive.”

For me the hunt continues. One of the main themes of my blog is the search for the ellusive elements that foster self-organization: required conditions, disruptive forces, and enhancing forces. But as Dan points out, it’s not something you can readily bottle and sell.

Victor Szalvay

Victor Szalvay currently leads product development for CollabNet’s ScrumWorks® product suite. In that capacity, he works closely with customers, stakeholders, and the development teams to deliver high business value each release cycle. With more than 150,000 active users worldwide, ScrumWorks is used by more than half of the Fortune 100 and boasts the largest market share of any Agile management tool.

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