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OK -- Here's another vote against team building fru-fru. I've done
plenty of 'em and yet, the most successful team I was on simply was
run by a very talented project manager. She handled people/resources
well, planned realistic schedules (followed 'em, too), trusted her
team's abilities, and used humor and understanding to resolve issues.
She could make the hard decisions quickly, and she celebrated/praised
each victory with team parties. She was the glue that held the team
together. The team trusted each other because we became very
successful at getting the product out.
When she tranferred and was replaced by someone who did not believe in
planning, who made unrealistic demands, was never available to resolve
issues, and sharply criticized every problem, the team fell apart.
Experienced talent left and were replaced by untrained workers.
Communication dissolved and was replaced by resentment. Product
delivery stumbled to a standstill. I left when there was little hope
People WANT to be a successful team and product teams can be VERY
effective, but it requires a good project manager. Unfortunately, this
must be a very difficult job, because so few seem to be good at it.
However, this may not be very helpful for your assignment. A more
helpful suggestion might be the personality analysis exercises (e.g.,
Driver, Analyst, Amiable, Expressive). At least they help improve
communication among team members. Also, they tend to be relatively
unobstrusive and don't require athletic ability or the annoyance of
being forced to act like a clown, if they don't like that sort of
In any case, the MOST IMPORTANT thing is to have the TEAM brainstorm
for ideas, and get their buy-in for whatever is decided. You'll have
better participation and get more out of it.