“Talent wins games, but teamwork wins championships” – Michael Jordon
In this Innovation Session, Kanchana Silva of the CAKE Guest Manager team speaks about team relationship building.
First, let’s make a clear distinction between a team and a group. A group is a collection of individuals with a common interest, and a team is a cohesive coalition of individuals working together towards a common goal.
Having got that out of the way, lets delve into what makes a good team, and how to make a good team. The Tuckman’s model, defined by Dr. Bruce Tuckman in 1965 goes through the stages of team building in a very comprehensive way. It states that there are four main stages to forming a team – Forming, Storming, Norming and finally Performing.
Forming – The point where everything begins. The team is put together and goals and processes are defined, but there might not be too much bonding happening between the team mates.
Storming – Team communication begins, people begin to speak up, however the bulk of communication is usually from a personal perspective and not a team perspective.
Norming – Team members start to talk to one another in person, respect and trust starts to build, and the team starts to come together.
Performing – The magic starts to come together, results start to show, and objectives are met.
The problem with this in the Software Engineering world is that teams are made and broken at a rapid pace, and this model might not have time to fully bloom in this environment. Adjustments may have to be made to suit the pace at which the industry moves.
One solution is to completely remove the norming stage and try to achieve the objectives of that stage in Forming and Storming. Start to build the team relationships when the team is formed and build upon it in the Storming phase.
If trust and bonds are built at the get go, the Performing stage will happen faster than you think. Most of us have been put into a new team, where we don’t know what to expect. We spend a lot of time studying our new team and being edgy about what we do. Trust is not there. When trust doesn’t exist time is spent watching our backs, time that could be better spent elsewhere. If we take some time during the first two stages to give opportunities to the team to bond better, the team will form, perform and meet goals a lot faster.