FRAMEWORK FOR HIGH PERFORMANCE TEAMS

CONVEYOR BELT

Once the team members finish one task, there is another task in the queue, and another and another. They start on Monday and see a huge backlog, and finish work late on Friday only to still see a huge backlog again. Team goals are set for productivity only. The tasks are not organized into finite larger chunks of work, that result in some business outcomes.
How does this anti-pattern impact the team?
Impact
Working for a long time without achieving any milestone drains the energy of a team. In addition detachment from the business goals deprives the team members of the purpose of their work. Teams need accomplishments and clear understanding of their unique contribution to the success of the whole organization in order to sustain high performance.

As well when a team does not have some reasonable slack time, there is no opportunity for the team members to step back, reflect on the past performance and improve. In the longer run that leads to accumulation of technical and organizational debt.

This anti-pattern reduces the capability of a team to Deliver and Learn.
How can you spot this anti-pattern?
Signals
-"We just have many small changes to implement."
- Business impact of the work is not clear for the team members.
-Team members feel tired already on Monday.

These signals are the "red flags", that indicate it is worth taking a closer look to check whether the anti-pattern is present.
Let's review this anti-pattern on different levels:
Events
On the level of events we can notice that the team has not celebrated any accomplishment within the last quarter.
Patterns
On the level of patterns we might observe that the team repeatedly fails to address a certain issue, that occurs regularly but not very often, and is relatively new to the team.
Systems
On the level of systems we can say: "By focusing solely on productivity the team members learn to handle similar tasks fast. However the lack of time for learning does not allow the team to adapt to the new challenges, and the lack of purpose reduces the drive of the team members."
Mental Models
On the level of mental models we might see that the team is perceived as a "well-oiled machine", lacking a human-centered perspective on work organization. We might also find out that the team does not fully acknowledge that their work environment is constantly changing introducing challenges that require new approaches.

Written by Aleksandr Zuravliov

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