All organizations thrive when teams work well, within and together.  No matter what the dominant product development process is  — agile, lean, waterfall…

More on #6  Risk of the team not working well together from a previous blog entry “Seven Risks in Software Development”.

I discussed risk #6 in terms of NOT overburdening the team with work – demand and capacity must match.  Muri (unreasonableness)  is one of the three concepts of waste in lean manufacturing – Muda, Mura,and Muri.

But creating great team dynamics is much more than controlling Muri!  And one can go in many directions learning to develop and fostering highly productive teams, with great working relationships.

One model of understanding and developing great team dynamics comes from Patrick Lencioni’s “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team“.

A call-out to Tom Caglay’s  “re-read of The Five Dysfunctions of a Team“, in which I also participate with comments to Tom’s weekly, re-read blog entries.

Lencioni’s case for Teamwork – “Teamwork remains the one sustainable competitive advantage that has been largely untapped”.  Not because organizations do not think and discuss the idea of creating teamwork, but because organizations will focus more on business results, than creating and growing great teams.

Lencioni’s model (from bottom-to-top) is …

  1. Dysfunction #1 – absence of trust
    Can team members be vulnerable with each other, in order to be open with each other?
  2. Dysfunction #2 – fear of conflict
    Can team members argue, challenge each other in the spirit of finding the best solution AND do so in a way that does not harm relationships?
  3. Dysfunction #3 – lack of commitment
    Can team members buy into the same plan and the decisions made?
  4. Dysfunction #4 – avoidance of accountability
    Can team members not only commit to the plan and decisions, but also hold other team members (peers) accountable to the same?
  5. Dysfunction #5 – inattention to results
    Can team members put their egos, agendas, and individual needs aside in favor of the team.  Example:  for a department manager, what will be considered team #1 – the leadership team or their department?


The end goal, from David Rock’s article “Managing with the Brian in Mind”

“But when leaders make people feel good about themselves, clearly communicate their expectations, give employees latitude to make (some) decisions, support people’s efforts to build good relationships, and treat the whole organization fairly, it prompts a reward response.  Others in the organization become more effective, more open to ideas, and more creative.”