RE: Team Building

Subject: RE: Team Building
From: kimber_miller -at- acs-inc -dot- com
To: <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 23 Nov 1999 12:19:55 -0600

In a former life, I was not only forced to participate in TB exercises (allusion
intended), but to research and invent them. I did learn something from the

People "bond" together when they share values. Period. That's what the TB
exercises attempt to do, to awaken in the group a realization that their
individual values are shared among the team members. To elicit an "Oh! You're
just like me! *Now* I understand (and therefore TRUST) you and will work with
you willingly and laughingly as we follow the yellow brick road!"

When you ask a group of semi-willing participants to solve ridiculous problems
like how to haul each other over obstacles through the wilderness, all that
results is that management looks bad. What a waste of money to get people to
smile and eat and drink for free to pay lip service to what might have been a
sincere goal.

So, the suggestions that management foster a good project team by using
effective project management are right on target. So are the suggestions that
the team volunteer to plan a meal at a soup kitchen or homeless shelter,
volunteer w/ Habitat for Humanity, the Special Olympics, or some other worthy
Have employees whose functions are interdependent (like TWs and Developers and
QA people) form a focus group tasked with Process Improvement toward a specific
goal, like moving the project team toward accomplishing a task on the way to
Level 2 of the CMM.

DON'T waste time on getting these people together to write mission statements!
(See the archive for the spleen vented regarding mission statements) Have people
work internally toward something that actually improves the work environment and
might actually have a positive impact on the bottom line. THAT's how you get
people on project teams to "bond" and work effectively together.
A great way to bridge distance between TW, QA, and Devo groups is with an
outside volunteer activity that "humanizes" all in the others' eyes. Then
introduce the internal project. Maybe your manager will like this amount of
"touchy-feely-ness" and maybe your colleagues won't hate it.



Kimber Miller
Affiliated Computer Services
Dallas, Texas

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