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I'm a team leader for a software development team, who is working in the same location, but for several customer. No more than 2 people working together. As you can imagine, it is difficult to build as a team. One of my ideas was to have some objectives in common, so this will create some sinergies to grow as a team. Any idea about this kind of objectives?

Thanks a lot.

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  • How do you want them to grow as a team? If you just mean developing collegiality and a friendly environment then the fact that they're working on different things is not relevant. If you want them to work as a team then that's unnecessary as, like you said, they never actually work together anyway.
    – Lilienthal
    Apr 21, 2016 at 9:59
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    Simplest way is to swap partners after projects.
    – Kilisi
    Apr 21, 2016 at 10:42
  • I mean good environment, trust and feel part of the team.
    – carduque
    Apr 22, 2016 at 5:31
  • The easiest way to create a "team" is by getting the people to work together. If there is functionality that seems to be needed by almost all of the development teams then maybe see about getting a working group that will create "common" code that can be shared between teams. Just keep in mind that the "common" code idea will only work if you have skilled designers and coders and create something of reasonably high quality. Otherwise people will not like the common code and just roll their own when it doesn't exactly suit their needs.
    – Dunk
    May 18, 2016 at 18:47

4 Answers 4

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What kind of team is an important aspect. Software development? Recruiting? Customer care? Different knowledge spaces have different core values/aspects/objectives.

Your idea of finding common objectives is smart. I would typically have customer/client/user satisfaction and issue resolved time as performance indicators.

You can even ask your team "Who are we?", and "What do we have in common?". Start the dialogue within your team, this way you cat get them to highlight areas of improvement in your team.

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  • Thanks for your answer. We are a Software development team. I like the idea of customer satisfaction.
    – carduque
    Apr 22, 2016 at 5:28
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I love to hear team leads wanting the people they are supporting to grow. Investing in singular individuals will make the team stronger, but I'm feeling that you are wanting to nurture a overall team rapport.

Some ideas in no particular order:

1) Organize a social outing after hours. Getting the team together away from work is a good way to build rapport. You can not control interest and attendance, but if most of the team turns up you'll see results.

2) Order lunch in for everyone and take an hour in a meeting room. Sharing a meal is a good icebreaker and allows the team to socialize away from their desks and workload. You can control the attendance here. Who doesn't like a free lunch? I've always enjoyed learning about coworkers over pizza.

3A) If possible, shuffle the pairs of individuals who are working together. An added benefit to this is the strengths and weaknesses of the team/pairs will bubble to the surface and you can begin to tailor improvement & reward strategies.

3B) If you cannot shuffle the pairs, Is there another way you can get them working together? Smaller side projects, initiatives? These could fall under group objectives also.

4) Have them brainstorm the team values/mantra/name/logo/team colours. This can be done via google sheet and then discussed over a short meeting. Having all of them agree on what the team represents will increase team pride and provide a banner to unite under. For example, I have an acquaintance who works in an animation studio (animators are a little different but..) each team was able to decorate their cubicles in elaborate themes, and people in the office would say that they are going to the jungle or the space station. The team very much enjoyed choosing which theme their area would be, and the decoration accumulated so slowly that little working time was lost.

5) Simply say hello to everyone. More then just a passing "hello", stop and genuinely ask how they are doing. If you cycle through everyone on your team, it will be a good reminder to them who are your direct reports.

6) More food: A box or two of doughnuts can go a long way.

Best of luck!

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  • I'm curious as to how the mechanics of 3A would work in bubbling weaknesses to the surface without talebearing. May 17, 2016 at 16:44
  • @AmyBlankenship : is not talebearing itself a weakness? I'll reiterate: Shuffling teammates creates opportunity to observe how they are working together and individually, ie, pairings that demonstrate collaboration best vs those that need improvement, quality of deliverables, who's difficult to work with, who demonstrates leadership, communication skills, patience, etc, etc. I am going under the assumption that this team lead has a good rapport with the team as it is, and any overarching issues would be brought to their attention professionally, privately.
    – R Star
    May 17, 2016 at 17:01
  • So, private talebearing... May 17, 2016 at 20:22
  • Thanks @RStar for your answer. It is not possible to change pairs, because it will impact on current project.
    – carduque
    May 28, 2016 at 7:43
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I usually organized after hours gatherings paid by the company and, most importantly, I did bi-weekly coffee reunions at the company, talked about the projects in general, and let each team spend some 15 minutes talking about theirs last 2 weeks in the projects, targets they achieved, you know, things in general about the project so everyone was up to speed in every project and feeling part of a whole big project.

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In addition to the previously mentioned good ideas

  1. Use teams to do code reviews on the other teams (you are doing code reviews aren't you?). You don't have to work on a project review the quality of code, and even if you don't work on the same technologies there is benefit in having to explain what you are doing.

  2. Have each team regularly give brief presentations (over lunch) to the other teams as to what they are doing, what challenges there and what novel things they are doing to get around them.

These will stretch your individual teams as well as create some general awareness as to what the other teams are doing - thus adding redundancy in your department.

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