Self-organizing teams

We had a really great presentation by Heikki-Pekka Noronen about self organising teams.

Building a team

Focus from building to shaping.

Tuckman’s stages  of group development I had heard of before. During the presentation there was a bit refined model, that looked like this:

  • Forming
  • Norming
  • Storming
  • Renorming
  • Performing

“If somebody is fighting for something, he usually feels that the matter is important enough to be fought for.” Very true, and I should remember this next time I feel that something isn’t progressing because people are adamant about something.

Role of team manager

Forming -> giving tasks, communicating, setting boundaries, waking up the team

Storming -> give space, guide, motivate (this phase can be really bad for motivation)

Norming -> support, more on the background, wake up team by giving ideas

Performing -> making drinks for the team, taking care of the team

Project manager

  • Technology knowledge
  • Domain knowledge
  • Common language

To be good project manager, you need to know what you are managing. This doesn’t mean that you have to be super-coder-awesome-designer-perfect-architect, but it helps if you know what those people are really doing. For example, to be hired as a manager in Toyota means that you first have to work on the assembly line.

To manage evolution of the team, the manager needs to evolve as well. This can be hard and not all managers are capable of doing it.


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