Teams win over individuals.
Have you ever watched reactions of people fascinated by the sports game? Maybe even you were impressed by the achievemnts made by the individuals?
Who haven't scratched his head and said "how did he do that?" watching Michael Jordan winning game for Chicago Bulls,
Felix Baumgartner jump form Stratosphere
or Robert Lewandowski scores for his national team at 91' minute of a football game...
In each of these case this is not individual win. Even if it looks like this at the first sight. It is well executed part by the individual. Whole process is built on the arms of a TEAM. Behind that memorable moments stands a team of professionals and many sweat, tears and even blood sometimes.
So let's get deeper - what is a team and how this differentiate from individuals.
Why teams over individuals
they provide different skill sets and specialise in different ideas and discuss them
they stimulate knowledge flow
they ensure progress continuity
there is no single point of failure
teamwork glue the people, motivate, check and balance
sum of the whole is higher than individuals 2+2=5
cross functional means no excuses for working product
We know so far why teams are better than individuals. Are group of indiviudals are already a team? No. We shall be aware that building a team is long term and hard work process. Patrick Lencioni made his observation and documented transformation of a team in 5 steps it is called a "5 dysfunctions of a team".
What such a team becomes after those 5 steps? It becomes a high performance team. How long does this process take? From my observation it takes around 1 year.
So is it worth to invest so much time effort and money? Have a look at pros below and try to relate it to your situation. To make a long story short - I believe it is worth it if you are trying to work on a digital product for a long term.
High performance mature team
Higher team retention
They act independently
Acts truly coss-functional
They fix dependencies with other teams
They swarm (focusing on one item at a time)
Have slack time
Spends time on innovation and make use of that (invest part of their time in research and implement learnings fast)
Pursue technical excellence
Let's say we have a high performance team already and we want to help be more efficient. What we can do as a leader? We can remove all obstacles which occure on their way. We can also provide some tools which can increase their productivity. Nowadays we can have access to numerous Software as a Service apps. Lots of the are meant to improve communication and increase productivity, minimize errors. Lets have a look what can they bring to the table.
Tools which increase performing teams output
User Storises, Releases, Product Backlog, Issue Tracker:
Communication and documentation
Software Development Process
Programming environments (development, test, production)
Hosting and Maintenance of Source code (GitHub)
Internal chat IRC alike:
Best possible portable hardware devices on the market:
Behaviours which increase performing teams output
Product Kickoff Workshops:
Team morale survey
Stakeholders morale survey
User satisfaction survey
Kudos box / Kudos cards
Last but not least. Teams are living creatures they need to be cared of...