The importance of a cohesive team goes beyond the achievement of a specific objective or the search for results. Being a team implies a balance between individual and group values so that all members feel identified and are oriented towards the same goal. It also requires a personal commitment in the search for the group's identity, learning to handle communication effectively and managing conflicts based on individual responsibility.
Trust and honesty are key for the development of a team and its growth, as Fran Ávila, Software Craftsperson at Codurance, explained in a meetup on February 17. During this meeting, he explained the phases a team goes through and how to approach each one of them. He also offered keys and tips to boost group collaboration and enhance individual skills.
Stages of team building
In the initial stage, he explained that it is necessary to define the group's mission, distinguishing it from the goal. "The goal is the achievement of a project: the delivery. But the mission is much more than that, it is what pushes you from within and has emotional meaning," he said. He also pointed out that this phase is ideal for creating links and finding the team's folklore, understood as the characteristics or tastes in common that promote a feeling of belonging.
After this stage, the first conflicts within the group may begin to emerge. For this reason, Avila believes that it is necessary to be clear that each person perceives reality differently and that it's each member's responsibility to identify how to react in the face of different circumstances. To learn how to manage these conflicts, he presented two tools that can help: Bebin's Roles and Patick Lencioni's five dysfunctions of a team.
On the basis of trust, agreements that include certain rules for working can be reached in alignment towards a common goal and with common values. Once the friction stage is overcome, the team begins to work with a strong sense of partnership that will allow them to function as a whole; to support each other in difficult moments and celebrate the achievements obtained with enthusiasm.
Finally, Ávila explained that in all groups there will be changes and departures of members. At that moment it is important to know how to adapt and reconfigure the dynamics, taking the positive aspects of the experience acquired with that person, recognizing the feelings that this loss entails, visualising the new challenges and developing ways to face them.
As a conclusion, he left a phrase in which he encompasses his vision of teamwork:
"Be the person that others want to work with and that you want to work with. That is something we have to look for all the time". - Fran Ávila - Software Craftsperson
Here is the video of the complete session and several links associated with this topic:
Check also our related Pair Programming session: