We all know that the team produces more than the individuals. Many books and papers have been written on the subject. Yet within IT it is arguably tougher to establish true teamwork as the majority of the individuals in the business have a preference for showing introvert characteristics.
True teamwork needs to exist not only within the physically co-located cross-fucntional team but also across virtual and remote teams. In fact, when the pressure hits, team-members should be not only delivering on their own commitments, but also helping others in their team and be seen to help members of other teams. This may include someone from Sales based in a different continent. When true cross-team teamwork is realised, everybody is contributing. It is at this point that “self-correcting behavior” starts to occur
From a day-to-day perspective, if teamwork is poor, trust will not be possible and without trust it is not possible to challenge authentically. Without the correct environment in which to open an honest challenge to the status quo, improvements are hard to make.
Ultimately, poor teamwork slows the system down and breeds a “them-us” atmosphere which stops true alignment across the organisation.
Self Correcting Behavior
Managers of IT staff often provide feedback to employees on behavioral issues that the employee will often not understand or rather, will chose to ignore, until threatened in some way (i.e. bonus relevance). This leads however, to an atmosphere of fear. The manager will however, remain powerless to change. Self-correcting behaviour is when the employee sees for himself / herself that their peers within the team don’t like a particular behavioral pattern. It is thus peer pressure not the boss’ pressure than leads to the correction.
How Can Agile Help?
Agile methodologies help create teamwork by:
- Making the team take responsibility and accountability for delivery, keeping to commitments.
- Creating teams that are cross functional, to raise respect between the team members.
- Requiring the team to hold frequent, open assessments of work done and improvements to be made.
- Promoting collaboration across the organisation and client, not just within each ‘silo’.
Do you See or Feel this in your work?
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