Rules? Where we’re going we don’t need rules…..
Obviously Doc Brown didn’t say that. He said Roads, but that doesn’t help me make my point.
So…….what is my point?
I don’t know about you but in my IT career I’ve worked with some really talented people. What I’ve noticed is that they work best when they aren’t continually in a bunch of meetings (especially prescribed ceremonies)…. or answerable to success factors based on estimation…. for that read velocity.
If you haven’t picked up on the clues, I’ll spell it out…. prescriptive ways of leveraging agile techniques can hinder rather than enhance team performance. SCRUM being the obvious example.
This is especially true for high performing teams. Now there is an argument that a team can become high performing by leveraging SCRUM. It’s not an argument I’d make but I think if you’re putting together a team with unproven people then yeah you could try a prescriptive methodology.
But there’s a reason why organisations pay a premium in digital. They expect experienced individuals who know what they are doing and can deliver.
And they want delivery to happen soon…. which is understandable as they are paying a lot of money. So how do you do quickly build a high performing team?
Throw away the rules.
Don’t use a prescriptive methodology.
If you want individuals to succeed as a team they need to be freed from process. It’s behaviours that matter, rather than processes. Although the behaviours must facilitate three things:
They’re interdependent, but can you guess which one is the most important?
I’ll give you a clue …. it’s the one in CAPITALS
Regardless of mode and methodology, you need to build confidence both internally and externally.
Internally individuals need to have confidence in their contributions and confidence in how their peers view them. This is reciprocal and builds trust.
I know what I am doing + Dave knows that I know what I am doing + I know that Dave knows what he’s doing = I trust Dave and Dave trusts me.
btw I have no idea who Dave is or if you have a Dave on your team :-)
Externally the people paying for the team must have confidence in the outcomes the team delivers. This is obvious TBH but worth stating.
So how do you do it?
Simon Sinek highlights how to within this video about “Trusting Teams”
He places great emphasis on leadership facilitating the building of an environment where people can contribute in the best way. I get that, and clearly he’s much more respected than me.
But here’s my take…
In software development, digital delivery (or whatever we’re calling this stuff), YOU can do it yourself or rather WE can do it ourselves.
The best leaders in a team, aren’t necessarily the one’s who’s job titles say they are or whose Linkedin profile shouts about it.
Leaders within teams emerge when they are needed. They do this by being confident in their applicable skillset and stepping up. Anyway leadership is a different blog post altogether.
We facilitate the confidence building within a team ourselves. You know that diagram earlier in this post? Guess what….. it’s by communicating and collaborating effectively that we build confidence.
I don’t know every single way and like I said we don’t need rules, but here are some behaviours that may help:
- Don’t be a dick. Or if you are acting like a dick, be a self deprecating dick. It’s ok to joke around as long as you can back it up with your output and working practices.
- Be humble. If you know what you’re doing then cool, but be prepared to be challenged and more importantly be prepared to LEARN. There will be someone who knows more about stuff than you. Listen to them, let them lead. If they’re not confident, encourage them.
- Give a shit. About what you’re doing, the people you’re doing it for, and most importantly………the people you work with. In order to give a shit, you have to understand the reasons behind why you’re being asked to do something. You have to understand the motives of the people asking you, and also the people you’re working with.
You can probably get a templated book about how to do this stuff, where someone will give you a set of rules on how to evaluate situations. Situational awareness can actually be coached and learnt. But if you start with the basics of listening and not being scared of people knowing your own weaknesses then you won’t need a rule book.
Just be a decent human being, then everything else will follow.