Team Foundations

As you may know, I left Steria and joined Statkraft June 1st this year. One of the things that I looked forward to in Statkraft, was the opportunity to work long-term with the same team. How good can we become? How much fun can we have? How enjoyable can we make life both for our customers and for ourselves?

So, just before I started my summer holiday (which I’m in the middle of now), I worked with the other project manager in my department to set up a series of workshops on Team Foundations, each workshop with its own theme. This is what we came up with.

Goals

The first workshop is about Goals. What, as a team, do we want to accomplish? We’re not going to say anything about how, leaving that for other workshops, but we’ll discuss and choose goals – where do we want to go? An example of a goal could be

Satisfied Customers – Our customers shall be satisfied, and they shall be increasingly more satisified. We’ll measure this by asking our customers regularly, and our aim is to always get a higher score than at the previous poll.

We shouldn’t have too many goals, but a few – probably some goals regarding our relationship with the world around us, and some goals about how life should be inside the team.

Values

The second workshop is about Values. Values say nothing about how we should reach the specific goals we have set, but rather what common set of beliefs we share that will guide our work and our actions, regardless of goals. An example of a Value:

Respect – We respect each other. We’re all competent professionals and invaluable people.

As with Goals, there shouldn’t be too many Values, because that may cause each Value to become less significant. I think three to five Values would work well.

Teamwork and Roles

This workshop is a bit different from the others. The focus will be more on team dynamics, and possible formal and informal roles on a team. This particular session will include some social event afterwards. The other project manager will be in charge of this session, so I don’t know too much about it yet.

Principles

Principles are guidelines for how we interact with each others and our customers, on a somewhat more specific level than the Goals. They should support our Goals and our Values. Example of a principle:

We keep our promises – When we’ve made a commitment, we meet that commitment. Always. This will build trust with our customers and trust in ourselves. If it’s something we don’t feel obligated to do, it’s not a promise – it’s a hope or a wish, and we should communicate this clearly to avoid misunderstanding.

Working Procedures

The last workshop may be on Working Procedures, or not – we’ll see how those other workshops go first. But if it’s about Working Procedures, it’s time to get specific on how we, in practice, do some of the stuff we do a lot. An example of a Working Procedure could be

Estimation – We estimate using Planning Poker. We ask the customer to be present. We estimate as soon as a new work item or task appears – we don’t wait until the next Sprint Planning Meeting (or similar).

Note that all of the above examples are for illustrative purposes, as we haven’t done any of these workshops yet. We’ll start them when all of the team members are back from vacation. Even though I definitely have my own ideas about what Goals, Values and Principles we might have, I will do my very best to make sure that the results, whatever they are, are the Team’s results. It simply won’t work any other way.

Looking Forward

I’m looking forward to this, and I’ll keep you posted as the workshops progress. If you have any ideas, comments or criticism, feel free to share them – this is new ground for me, and I could use all the help you can give me.

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