How to manage a team - a story of one success

    Hi Habr!

    In the process of reading an article from Milfgard about how to blame people, I had a cognitive dissonance. For some reason, it always seemed to me that he had a spirit of freedom and creativity in his company, but no, the ghost of late fines peeps at us from the closet again.

    Under the cut you will find a short trip to the opposite point of view.

    Disclaimer: The article does not purport to be exhaustive or ultimate. The author also does not pretend to anything, but simply shares his observations, as is.

    Initial data

    The company is the size of 300-400 developers.


    We take an old, understandable crap and make something like Scrum, Agile and self-organizing teams out of it.


    We take some super-expensive consultants, for example, Craig Larman , to rub the bosses, as well as a few ordinary consultants for everyone else.

    We conduct a 2-day training, break the old teams, form new ones and forward, towards the dream.


    That's about the 7-month result, how they came to it - and I would like to talk.

    Rules or lack of rules

    Have you ever seen self-organizing teams? I always observed only attempts to build something like this. It always seemed to me that this was some kind of pampering for managers, well, or a pipe dream, like the C ++ IDE from Jetbrains.

    And now, a person with a whip is replaced by a person who does not have a whip and who is a convinced pacifist himself (thanks to 2-day training), and he says:

    - Now you do not have a boss.
    - In general, no one has a boss (formally he is, but he is 1 in 40 people and he has nothing to do).
    - Everyone is equal in the team, there are no more titles - no tech-leads, or other signers.
    - Everyone does everything - download secondary skills (design, testing, analytics).
    - The team itself decides how to cope with the task. If the team decides to go to the park and kick the bulldo there - it can go and nothing will happen to it.
    - The team itself decides what tasks it needs to work on, it can choose and it can even refuse the proposed task.
    - A team can break deadlines - scientifically, this is called split the story (tell me a good translation).

    Let's go to work.


    What will happen if people are given freedom? Most likely chaos. In our case, the chaos lasted for about 2-3 months, 1 iteration = 2 weeks. No one knows what and how to do, who is responsible for what, as a result, the usual story is a failure to meet deadlines and many are dissatisfied.

    Any prudent person understands that in nature there are no teams at all that never break deadlines, but for some reason each leader perceives his team as one that is not in nature.

    In general, a rare leader is able to endure 3 months. There is no instant result and somehow manual control returns by itself.
    Indeed, well, we have played around and will; after all, it is necessary to work.

    I recall a hackneyed illustration:


    Observation 1 - patience is often not enough.

    Have you ever had a look at your watch periodically during a trip on the subway?
    You never thought that it was absolutely useless, because the metro will not go faster, it does not matter where you are in a hurry.
    It takes a team time to debug mechanisms. There is nothing to be done, we must be patient.

    Observation 2 - honesty without reservation.

    Imagine an absolutely unlikely situation. Instead of work, you read Habr for half a day, drank coffee and watched a video for half a day. As a result, the work is not done. It is time for the morning standup. Because of the inevitability of punishment, you are likely to get some nonsense or worse - say that everything is almost ready and only a couple of tests are missing.

    Or you can say - I was not in the mood and did not really do anything, if someone has time to help - help will not hurt.

    Observation 3 - do not look back.

    In the situation described above, a person must inevitably get caught up, because he sets a bad example and decomposes the team.
    But what if, instead of demonstrative punishment, it is indicative NOT to punish?
    For example, the deadlines have passed and nothing has been done.
    And you, instead of the usual distribution, are unexpectedly calm and simply express themselves in the spirit of the fact that we are an excellent team and the result will definitely come.
    People understand that you know perfectly well that they have profiled, but believe in them.
    And they begin to think - that I can’t gash some kind of service, what kind of nonsense.
    Better motivation than intrinsic motivation has not yet been invented.
    Therefore, instead of reflecting on the topic of what cannot be changed, you just need to move forward.

    Observation 4 - people do not know how to communicate.

    Surprisingly, in each team there are people who are trite to be afraid to express their thoughts, either do not know how to do this, or do not know how to listen to others.
    A banal example, but even after many months of work, there are those who write emails (with a dozen CCs, because you need to escalate the problem) instead of coming up and chatting with a specific person who needs a specific result.
    This is often called “politics”, but in my opinion it is banal unprofessionalism.
    In our mentality - this is generally a cornerstone thing - justice is higher than any relationship, if I'm right, I have to prove my case and burn it all.
    In my opinion, this is one of the most underestimated skills, for the training of which you should not squeeze money and time.


    Somewhere in the 5-6 month the team turns into a machine for the production of tasks. And you don’t need to control the machine, it goes by itself, just put the user-story on one side and take out the product from the other end.

    Many team members are “revealed.” For example, the eternal silent people turn out to be quite sensible people, they were silent, simply because what for talking when no one is listening. Inveterate perfectionists begin to train lagging colleagues and enjoy it. Procrastination sufferers go on a recovery path because they do not fall out of the process.

    Everyone goes to lunch / bowling together, without a boss and without corporate parties.

    I agree that the process is not quick, but I do not have to sign resignation statements every six months.

    After all, we all know what army methods sooner or later lead to, really.

    There is a fluid, of course, but it is lower, because general dissatisfaction with the complete mess with management disappears.

    Everyone - Laissez-faire, colleagues.

    Only registered users can participate in the survey. Please come in.

    How to better manage a team

    • 8.2% Edit with an iron hand 91
    • 4.5% Let the team manage itself 50
    • 47% The team organizes itself, but the boss can intervene if necessary 519
    • 40.1% A team organizes itself, but obeys rules and standards 443

    What to do with an employee who constantly mows

    • 20.8% Raise the problem at general meetings 224
    • 18.1% Do not give important tasks 195
    • 30.1% Patiently helping 324
    • 30.8% Dismiss from sin away 331

    How to get people to work on time

    • 4.3% Introduce late fines 48
    • 6% Discuss this behavior in a general meeting 67
    • 13.5% Enter comic late fines (sweets) 151
    • 45% People do not need to be forced - let 503 be late
    • 31% Set aside time for a daily morning meeting and ask everyone to speak at it 347

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