Conversations about Forming an Agile Team: Part II

So in Part I, we started the conversation about taking a siloed team each with its own individual objectives and forming a single team out of it. We overcame some key hurdles such as overcoming latency in hardware fabrication and high levels of specialization within the team and think we have a plan that will work in theory. But we know better, things are a lot more messy in real life right? Ambition, Recognition, Money.

My conversation with my client in Shanghai led us to the bottom line. He wanted to know how he could acknowledge high performance and presumably punish poor performance.

He was convinced that his team was motivated by the success of their silo and if, like I suggested, we bust down the silos and create one team in an attempt to optimize the system, well, where would their motivation come from? How could we incentivize them to do their best and make ALL of the peripherals a success?

This conversation is really about optimizing the whole, which reminds me of the famous quote that Dean Leafingwell loves to trot around:

“A system must be managed.
It will not manage itself.

Left to themselves, components become selfish, independent profit centers and thus destroy the system…

The secret is cooperation between components toward the aim of the organization.”

– W. Edwards Deming

In this situation, the components are the individual peripheral teams. Measuring these teams by the success or failure of their peripheral will create partitions of accountability. If the Smart Card reader team is behind schedule and the Credit Card scanner team is on schedule, what happens? Do we hear ‘Ha, good thing it’s not us!’ or maybe ‘Hey, at least we’re doing better than the smart card team!’?

What would it take to start hearing ‘Hey, this smart card reader is important for the business let me help you’? We have to change the way we measure people.

2 thoughts on “Conversations about Forming an Agile Team: Part II

  1. Pingback: Conversations about Forming an Agile Team: Part I | Adventures in the Cloud

  2. Pingback: Conversations about Forming an Agile Team: Part III | Adventures in the Cloud

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