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Topics: Career Development, Talent Management, Teams
How to get our project teams to perform similarly?
Network:1963



Dearest
I remembered the teams changing tires in formula 1 and the teams at Seals

How to get our project teams to perform similarly?
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Hi,
As those teams you mentioned, I would suggest Training and Practicing. But as a group. Think of group trainings like Team Building, etc..
...
2 replies by Luis Branco and Scott Ambler
Nov 04, 2019 6:13 AM
Luis Branco
...
Dear Tarik

Thank you for participating in this reflection and for your opinion.

As temporary projects and teams are organized according to projects, is it possible to achieve high performance through team building training and practice?
Nov 05, 2019 7:10 AM
Scott Ambler
...
Luis, good point. It takes time for a team to learn how to trust each other and work together well. One of the drawbacks of the strategy of forming a team for a project then disbanding it once the project is complete is that you lose the benefits to be derived from a gelled team.

Worse yet, you motivate people to not invest time in building relationships with their co-workers. This reduces the overall effectiveness of the team. Yesterday at PMO Symposium I was in a discussion with a few PMO leaders and we were discussing various issues they are facing back at work. A couple of people talked about how their organizations treated contractor PMs very differently than their full time employees (FTEs). They made it pretty clear that the contractors weren't being included in strategy discussions, the sharings of learnings within the PMO, and other important things. I was shocked that they weren't treating the contractors as full team members.
Network:1963



Nov 04, 2019 5:25 AM
Replying to Tarik Chougua
...
Hi,
As those teams you mentioned, I would suggest Training and Practicing. But as a group. Think of group trainings like Team Building, etc..
Dear Tarik

Thank you for participating in this reflection and for your opinion.

As temporary projects and teams are organized according to projects, is it possible to achieve high performance through team building training and practice?
Network:1665



Luis -

Why do you want them to perform similarly - is this about the "what" or the "how"?

If the former, then organization policies and standards should specify the delivery and control objectives which each team has to satisfy but how they go about doing that should be left up to them to determine based on their context.

Otherwise, this is a command-and-control model.

That may make sense for operational processes where we want consistent execution but if we accept that projects are unique endeavors then we need to provide teams with flexibility to discover their way of working within enterprise guidelines.

Kiron
...
1 reply by Suneel Kumar Nadella
Nov 04, 2019 8:33 AM
Suneel Kumar Nadella
...
Dear Mr.Luis, Very good one to discuss and understand views on this subject. Based on my experience, I found that you can achieve the same by using the following principles or techniques rigorously and transparently.
1. Make the team to feel passion and commitment that they are truly part of the team. Several techniques that can be used are recognising true talent using star of week or iteration etc.
2. Make them objectively participate in meetings and share their ideas. use their written as well as oral communication skills. Contain people who want to bragg in these type of meetings or idea-sharing. Create a uniform and balanced platform.
3. Have social activities through team building and other festive events etc. Make them to lead these initiatives and observe what talent they have outside work and understand their emotive as well as intelligent quotient during these initiatives.
4. Learning and Development programmes - Use HR and Learning functions to encourage teams to address their weaknesses through objective performance evaluation cycles.
5. Create an environment where you take a balanced approach to the issues encountered in the project instead of blaming culture.

It has really worked for me as I was able to motivate my core team for a period of 10 years in providing IT services and executing projects.
Network:25



Nov 04, 2019 7:28 AM
Replying to Kiron Bondale
...
Luis -

Why do you want them to perform similarly - is this about the "what" or the "how"?

If the former, then organization policies and standards should specify the delivery and control objectives which each team has to satisfy but how they go about doing that should be left up to them to determine based on their context.

Otherwise, this is a command-and-control model.

That may make sense for operational processes where we want consistent execution but if we accept that projects are unique endeavors then we need to provide teams with flexibility to discover their way of working within enterprise guidelines.

Kiron
Dear Mr.Luis, Very good one to discuss and understand views on this subject. Based on my experience, I found that you can achieve the same by using the following principles or techniques rigorously and transparently.
1. Make the team to feel passion and commitment that they are truly part of the team. Several techniques that can be used are recognising true talent using star of week or iteration etc.
2. Make them objectively participate in meetings and share their ideas. use their written as well as oral communication skills. Contain people who want to bragg in these type of meetings or idea-sharing. Create a uniform and balanced platform.
3. Have social activities through team building and other festive events etc. Make them to lead these initiatives and observe what talent they have outside work and understand their emotive as well as intelligent quotient during these initiatives.
4. Learning and Development programmes - Use HR and Learning functions to encourage teams to address their weaknesses through objective performance evaluation cycles.
5. Create an environment where you take a balanced approach to the issues encountered in the project instead of blaming culture.

It has really worked for me as I was able to motivate my core team for a period of 10 years in providing IT services and executing projects.
...
1 reply by Luis Branco
Nov 04, 2019 2:20 PM
Luis Branco
...
Dear Suneel

Thank you for participating in this reflection and for your opinions.

Want to share with us the results you achieved as a result of implementing these 5 points?
Network:387



Dear Mr Luis, your observation is very pertinent because both teams achieve high levels of performance, however the training mode is very different.
1 - I consider the Formula 1 tire change team to be an operations team that relentlessly trains the same function, and where the need to react to change is low, the operation is always the same the risks are mostly known. I think the key to performance is the coordination of the members and their consistency.
2 - A team of seals, has a completely different training, because it is an agile team, each mission ("project") is unique, their training is tireless both mentally and physically, but always full of unknown variables, they are prepared for unknown risks, are self managed teams that although there is a hierarchy or ranks and functions assigned to each element, due to its versatility, the loss of an element does should not affect the team's functioning and performance. In their training the term team or family is synonymous because the priority is mutual support, the basis of success is the team is a matter of life and death so the team development reaches the extreme of mixing personal relationships with professionals, otherwise the spirit of group and mutual help will never reach such high levels in any company.
The training component is so important as the work is for it self this
is rarely achieved in other common workplaces.
Finally a very important part that contributes to the success of these teams is the concept of discipline that is rooted in their minds and actions, which allows the coordination of their actions to reach levels difficult to reach in common workplaces.
...
2 replies by Luis Branco and Scott Ambler
Nov 04, 2019 2:29 PM
Luis Branco
...
Dear Alexandre
Thank you for participating in this reflection and for your analysis.

We agree that we can say that the tire changes are operations (although the conditions of each race track are unique) and that the seals team is an agile project team.

Is there anything in common for both teams?

Intensive training tailored to each type of team?
Nov 05, 2019 7:24 AM
Scott Ambler
...
A few thoughts:
1. The pit crew team trains tirelessly (punny) and focuses on experimenting with new ways of working (WoW) in order to shave milliseconds off of very repetitive tasks. The learning from that is that its important to invest in enabling teams to experiment with improving their WoW. Pit crews also stay together for years, they're typically not organized as a short-term project team for the Indy 500.
2. Navy seal teams take the best of the best from the rest of the US military. They then train relentlessly for the occasional high-pressure engagement. They also cross train and are generalizing specialists. Everyone has one or more specialities and is competent at other aspects of the job, and they're always trying to get better. So the US Navy makes a huge investment in these people over the long term, and they keep these teams together for a long time.
3. It's interesting that the examples of "project teams" that you bring up are actually long-standing teams in practice, not short-term project teams.
4. We could argue that projects (hunt down this bad guy, win this car race) are being brought to these long-standing teams. This is a very common pattern that I see a lot of in organizations that are well down the agile transformation path.
Network:1963



Dear Kiron
Interesting questions.
Thank you for making them.

Let's go to the example of formula 1:
1950 - Changing Tires and Fueling - 67seconds
2013 - Changing Tires and Fueling (with greater safety and comfort for a team and better results for the driver and vehicle) - 1.92 seconds

Analyzing the history of humanity we can group it into 5 great ages:
- Hunter / Collector
- Agricultural
- Industrial
- Information / Knowledge Worker

Farmer's yield 50 times higher than the best collector hunter

Industrial Age Productivity Is 50 Times Higher Than Family Farming

What is the challenge in the age of the knowledge worker?

I am convinced it will be 50 or more times higher than the industrial age worker

We agree with: "We need to provide teams with flexibility to discover their way of working within enterprise guidelines"

How to get teams to perform at a high level?
...
2 replies by Kiron Bondale and Scott Ambler
Nov 04, 2019 4:31 PM
Kiron Bondale
...
Luis -

To get higher levels of productivity from knowledge workers, inspire them (a la Daniel Pink or Patrick Lencioni) and enable them to focus.

While automation (e.g. AI) might help improve productivity, effective leadership is likely to help even more.

Kiron
Nov 05, 2019 7:28 AM
Scott Ambler
...
Yes, I agree with Kiron. Knowledge workers are most effective when they're led, not managed. This has very interesting implications for managers of such people: They need to move away from command-and-control strategies (which work poorly with skilled workers in general, BTW) towards leadership strategies such as motivation and enablement.
Network:1963



Nov 04, 2019 8:33 AM
Replying to Suneel Kumar Nadella
...
Dear Mr.Luis, Very good one to discuss and understand views on this subject. Based on my experience, I found that you can achieve the same by using the following principles or techniques rigorously and transparently.
1. Make the team to feel passion and commitment that they are truly part of the team. Several techniques that can be used are recognising true talent using star of week or iteration etc.
2. Make them objectively participate in meetings and share their ideas. use their written as well as oral communication skills. Contain people who want to bragg in these type of meetings or idea-sharing. Create a uniform and balanced platform.
3. Have social activities through team building and other festive events etc. Make them to lead these initiatives and observe what talent they have outside work and understand their emotive as well as intelligent quotient during these initiatives.
4. Learning and Development programmes - Use HR and Learning functions to encourage teams to address their weaknesses through objective performance evaluation cycles.
5. Create an environment where you take a balanced approach to the issues encountered in the project instead of blaming culture.

It has really worked for me as I was able to motivate my core team for a period of 10 years in providing IT services and executing projects.
Dear Suneel

Thank you for participating in this reflection and for your opinions.

Want to share with us the results you achieved as a result of implementing these 5 points?
...
1 reply by Suneel Kumar Nadella
Nov 05, 2019 6:05 AM
Suneel Kumar Nadella
...
I had a chance of managing a large Energy and Utilities service provider based out of London (FTSE 25 company) over a 10-year duration. I had a team of around 40+ consultants with disparate knowledge levels and backgrounds as part of my team. As a manager, I had a 10-year vision based on the organisation's business and IT strategies that they have embarked upon. The team was reactive and just executing the orders given by Client Managers, to begin with. It took some time for me to realise that the team was not motivated enough to do proactive work as they had uncertainties about the length of contracts and also personal/professional aspirations. Then I started rolling out the five initiatives gradually year-on-year to streamline and address their issues. It helped to result in the following benefits (Tangible and quantified):
(1). We have expanded our services into the strategic areas of business and future growth.
(2). Incentive schemes motivated employees to perform "beyond the call of duty" and participation in idea generation to proposal submission to clients.
(3). Long term contracts were awarded by customer with logical grouping of services (from 3 months extension to 3 yeard contracts)
(4). We have grown our team size from 40 to 300 over 10 yeard duration.
(5). We have won several individual and team awards/rewards from Clients as well as internal management.
(6). Our account was awarded best UK account and referenceable account by corporate in 2008(after 10 years of starting the exercise).
Network:1963



Nov 04, 2019 9:19 AM
Replying to Alexandre Costa
...
Dear Mr Luis, your observation is very pertinent because both teams achieve high levels of performance, however the training mode is very different.
1 - I consider the Formula 1 tire change team to be an operations team that relentlessly trains the same function, and where the need to react to change is low, the operation is always the same the risks are mostly known. I think the key to performance is the coordination of the members and their consistency.
2 - A team of seals, has a completely different training, because it is an agile team, each mission ("project") is unique, their training is tireless both mentally and physically, but always full of unknown variables, they are prepared for unknown risks, are self managed teams that although there is a hierarchy or ranks and functions assigned to each element, due to its versatility, the loss of an element does should not affect the team's functioning and performance. In their training the term team or family is synonymous because the priority is mutual support, the basis of success is the team is a matter of life and death so the team development reaches the extreme of mixing personal relationships with professionals, otherwise the spirit of group and mutual help will never reach such high levels in any company.
The training component is so important as the work is for it self this
is rarely achieved in other common workplaces.
Finally a very important part that contributes to the success of these teams is the concept of discipline that is rooted in their minds and actions, which allows the coordination of their actions to reach levels difficult to reach in common workplaces.
Dear Alexandre
Thank you for participating in this reflection and for your analysis.

We agree that we can say that the tire changes are operations (although the conditions of each race track are unique) and that the seals team is an agile project team.

Is there anything in common for both teams?

Intensive training tailored to each type of team?
Network:351



In most cases, I would not want a team to operate like a F1 team or commando team although we can study what they do that makes them so good at their jobs. They involve extreme levels of risk, extreme cost, and low levels of resource utilization. People normally can’t do those jobs very long due to the stresses involved and the consequences of when things go wrong.

Both types of teams work in an extremely dangerous environments where vulnerable people are working very close to high levels of hazardous energy, in an extremely high stress environment where very bad accidents happen very quickly. It is extremely expensive as all the equipment involved is very much purpose built, and a lot of intense training is required to perform their tasks precisely and reflexively. They say that the training ammunition budget for SEAL Team 6 is larger than for the whole US Marine Corps, and F1 teams arrive at the tracks with small cities packed into large trucks.

When those teams executes their tasks, each person has a very specific job that they have drilled for to reach perfection. They may have to improvise when things go wrong, but that is where the danger increases exponentially. With the massive costs and complexities involved, those teams are also used for very specific purposes. You could be Left Rear Tire Man #1 or Guy Who Busts the Door Down and that is your whole job for a mission. That's like having a specialist on the project team for a year, that only performs their job for a week.

I would use endurance auto racing teams or more general purpose military squads as a better example. They still do a lot of training for their roles, but there is more cross-training and versatility. They also are not constantly on the razors edge of disaster which means fewer risks become issues and the longevity of teams is much better. As we say in endurance racing: “To finish first, first you must finish.” so risk management involves a lot more mitigation and avoidance rather than primarily acceptance and "Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead". We still plan and practice fairly intensely and endure a lot of stress during critical times, but our primary concern is that everyone goes home safely at the end of the day. That's a much more sustainable project team model if your people aren't expendable.
...
3 replies by Luis Branco, Scott Ambler, and Suneel Kumar Nadella
Nov 05, 2019 2:09 AM
Luis Branco
...
Dear Keith
Thank you for participating in this reflection and for your analysis.

Let's consider the case of the teams of formula 1.

We agree that work is dangerous and team members are under great pressure.

Let's look at the operations they perform.

Are they repetitive?
Could the most dangerous operations be performed by robots?
Or all the processes?

If we did that (robot replacement teams) we would be in a digital transformation project

Of course, the business case is missing
Nov 05, 2019 6:15 AM
Suneel Kumar Nadella
...
Thank you Mr.Luis. But trust me, it was hard and we all were persistent in our approach. More than myself, my team was exemplary in standing by some of risk-taking proposals or ideas they have come with and then coping with learning demands. Sometimes we all felt that we are pushing ourselves hard, but it was worth in the end. I felt in the end that was an enriching experience for me as a manager to create such high performing team. I learnt quite a lot from that 10 years journey both from Client Management perspective as well as internal organisation management. I started seeing some gaps recently due to the vast amount of unstructured data and management styles that are leading to confusion among this generation workforce. Once again thank you for creating a forum and I learnt some more additional things from the discussion forum.
Nov 05, 2019 7:31 AM
Scott Ambler
...
Robots replacing navy seals? Do you want terminators? Because that's how you get terminators. ;-)
Network:1665



Nov 04, 2019 2:13 PM
Replying to Luis Branco
...
Dear Kiron
Interesting questions.
Thank you for making them.

Let's go to the example of formula 1:
1950 - Changing Tires and Fueling - 67seconds
2013 - Changing Tires and Fueling (with greater safety and comfort for a team and better results for the driver and vehicle) - 1.92 seconds

Analyzing the history of humanity we can group it into 5 great ages:
- Hunter / Collector
- Agricultural
- Industrial
- Information / Knowledge Worker

Farmer's yield 50 times higher than the best collector hunter

Industrial Age Productivity Is 50 Times Higher Than Family Farming

What is the challenge in the age of the knowledge worker?

I am convinced it will be 50 or more times higher than the industrial age worker

We agree with: "We need to provide teams with flexibility to discover their way of working within enterprise guidelines"

How to get teams to perform at a high level?
Luis -

To get higher levels of productivity from knowledge workers, inspire them (a la Daniel Pink or Patrick Lencioni) and enable them to focus.

While automation (e.g. AI) might help improve productivity, effective leadership is likely to help even more.

Kiron
...
2 replies by Luis Branco
Nov 05, 2019 2:17 AM
Luis Branco
...
Dear Kiron
Thank you once again for your opinions and your contribution to the reflection on this topic.

Let's go to the case of formula 1

We agree that we have two possible solutions: "digital transformation (replacement of team members by robots) and / or working with people (using proposals from Daniel Pink or Patrick Lencioni
Nov 05, 2019 5:04 AM
Luis Branco
...
Dear Kiron
I really enjoyed:
- "A Whole New Mind : Moving from the Information Age to the Conceptual Age"
- "Drive"
I haven't had a chance to read anything about "Patrick Lencioni"
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