The 5 Dysfunctions of a Team

Recently I came across a book that I read a couple of years ago: The 5 Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni.

As it usually is, you are excited about a book and then as time passes by you forget again. So it is always good to go back and remind yourself.

The book is really about the 5 dysfunctions listed in the left triangle. All dysfunctions are somewhat related with each other, hence the representation as a pyramid. It starts with the absence of trust meaning teams are not open with each other. This results in fear of conflict during discussions. Honest opinions will be held back and instead, everyone will just voice opinions that seem acceptable by everyone. Fear of conflict leads to lack of commitment. If you haven’t voiced your opinion you will not buy into the decision. If you haven’t bought into a decision you will avoid any accountability which ultimately results to inattention to results.

On the other hand, truly cohesive teams, trust each other and hence engage in conflict around ideas. As all team members participated in the discussion they are able to commit to decisions and speak with one voice. As they agreed to a decision as a group they hold each other accountable for delivering on the decided plans. By holding each other accountable they focus on the achievement of collective results.

While this probably makes sense to most people who are reading this, reality is often much more complicated. Sometimes it is difficult to recognize the dysfunctions and it is even harder to fix them in order to build a functional team.

For those who want to learn more about the topic, I’m highly recommending buying the book or you watch this video:

New York Cheese Cake mit Blaubeeren

Hier mein erster New York Cheese Cake mit Blaubeeren. Geschmeckt hat er fantastisch, leider ist die Oberfl?che ein wenig eingerissen. Angeblich kann man das durch noch langsameres abk?hlen verhindern. Vielleicht klappt das beim n?chsten Mal…

img_8049-10.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

 

Das Rezept stammt aus dem Buch “I love Cheesecake”:

Open Positions On My Team

concur

Over the last 1.5 years, my teams have been growing a lot. From only 6 developers in Europe, we present now about half of the global Concur Travel Development team. We are a very international team with 10+ nationalities from across the world and we are working on some of the most exciting functionalities within Concur Travel. We use a multitude of technologies. .NET, Go, Docker and Kubernetes being among them.

If you want to be part of a growing and successful team, if you want to create a career and if you are interested in solving technical challenges in order to create business value these are the right positions for you:

Natural Project Planning

Allen’s Getting Things Done is a resourceful book in many ways. If someone asked me for the two most valuable / interesting passages of the booking I’d probably point out the “Getting Things Done” diagram which I wrote about here and the “Natural Project Planning” which I want to write about in this post.

Natural Project Planning consists out of five steps:

  1. Defining purpose and principles
  2. Outcome visioning
  3. Brainstorming
  4. Organizing
  5. Identifying next actions

If you’re like me you will probably read over that list and think “yep, that’s how it should be, so what’s the big deal here”. Well, the big deal is, that while this model is very natural it won’t be followed most of the time.

Think back to your last kick start meeting for the latest and greatest project. For sure someone said, “let’s brainstorm”. That just sounds right and very actionable. The problem: If you didn’t talk about the purpose of the new project yet and if you have no idea about possible desired outcomes for the project the brainstorming will lead to absolutely nothing constructive. Without knowing the purpose of the project and without any vision you won’t be able to separate the good ideas from the bad ones. So next time someone says “Let’s brainstorm” make sure everybody is clear about the purpose, principles and outcome visions.

Once these are defined and you successfully brainstormed the new project everybody leaves the room and now what? If you?were lucky someone took a photo of the whiteboard with all the good and bad results of the brainstorming on it. Since most teams don’t have the luxury of working on one project at a time it is fairly certain that other things come up and get prioritized. After a week nobody will understand anymore what all the words on the photo of the whiteboard are really about and we have to start the process all over again.
Brainstorming is important but it will be for nothing if you don’t take the time and organize all the unordered ideas into actionable items. Start writing a project plan. I don’t have to be a huge formal document. Simply make a list of “next actions”. Prioritize them and assign them to concrete people.

Following these five easy steps helps to get projects started and keep them going. It works for small and big projects, however, for big projects, you’ll likely need more formal approaches…