A bunch of individuals doesn’t make a team

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A team sport

Last year I’ve finally obtained the certificate of competency authorizing me to operate sailing yachts so I’ve spent a part of my long vacation on a boat.

I love sailing. Sailing is pretty much about the experience and learning the right skills. Every moment on the water is different, and it’s important to be able to react and deal with any situation that comes up. You develop an understanding of what needs to happen to keep yourself, your crew and the boat safe and get to where you need to be. And even though you can sail by yourself for me sailing is truly a team sport.

I’m a better sailor on a crewed boat and I love the feeling of getting the team to work together. And when it works it’s so cool. When it doesn’t it’s not safe to be on board and can lead to even the life-threatening situations.

It’s the same with software development.

In a project, team members work together to get to where they need to be. To reach the project objective. Software development is pretty much about the team (I wrote about it recently). And a good team will always beat a bunch of individuals.

But sometimes people don’t bond and gel as a team and it causes a whole bunch of problems.

Productivity and financial results are impacted when it happens. This wastes time and causes insecurity and inefficiency. Team members are not respectful or supportive towards each other and feel left out, not understood or listened to. This makes teammates uncertain and can make them less inclined to stay in the team.

Help it glue

Getting a team to work together takes time and effort. But it can be done.

Everyone brings into the team their knowledge and ideas. No one can have all the answers, so great teams involve everyone in the project decision-making processes and implementation.

Admitting that you don’t know everything, and opening to the input of others helps as well. It builds common trust.

Promote the how you say it, matters. It’s great to pay attention to how you address each other and to talk respectfully to other teammates.

Be the kind of person who wants to be a team player. Working together with others helps you as well as those you’re involved with.

Teamwork makes the dream work. Embrace it.

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