Building great teams

I was listening to the opening keynote speech at the 2010 National Association of Government Webmasters (NAGW) this morning. The keynote speaker, Jared Spool spoke about building great user experiences and much of what he is sharing is relevant to not just design but also to successfully managing change In an organization.

Jared has been looking at what makes teams successful. After digging through hundreds of projects he found the key attributes that went into the equation were:

– Methodology and dogma
– Techniques and tricks

Going into this effort the assumption was that teams who made use of robust methodologies would clearly be more successful… Makes sense, right?

Wrong. The teams that are finding the best results are those that count more on techniques and tricks did better…. Counter-intuitive? Yes. The reason is that teams that are blindly following methodologies often take away the ability of their team members to be creative.

In my opinion you should:

– Follow a methodology. You do need a base system that provides a framework for your teams.
– Perform regular reviews of projects that are being worked on. During these reviews be unafraid to change portions of the methodology that are not working for you.
– Ensure that the techniques and tricks being used are documented, supported, and embraced. These are part of your culture and inspire you teams and ensure creativity is not lost.

What do you think?


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Avi Dey

“Building Great Teams” clarifications & limitations of this set of observations ?

This is an interesting observation about “Building Great Teams’, applicable to this particular industry or task focus. The “Music Band” Team model, that i have studied carefully, is different in scope and outrcome than this partiuclar application. Also, ‘dialogue’ model often used by theortical physicsts are totally different than this model. There needs to be careful qualification so as not to generalize about ‘great teams’, where it is not applicable.

“Great Team” can perfom when given a chance to do so and appropriate motivations exists !
A basketball team is like the five fingers on your hand. If you can get them all together, you have a fist. That’s how I want you to play.
Mike Krzyzewski

Adriel Hampton

Interesting. I’m all about techniques and tricks. Tolerance for failure and the ability to react and pivot to a new approach is also important (no dogma there), and key to the “lean startup” model, which has a real place in government.

Jaime Gracia

Empower the team to make creative decisions and have the ability to take risks. This approach will lead to high-functioning and innovative teams that deliver exceptional value.