Improve Team Collaboration by Co-creating a Team Poster
Do you have a scrum team consisting of individual players? Does your team know why it exists in the first place? Do the team members know eachother's personal preferences for doing the things they do? Are they aware of what they find important as a team? A Team Poster crafted by the team itself will improve collaboration and contributes to a performance increase.
Before giving you a recipe to create one with your team, this is how the Team Poster will help your team:
- It shows the team name, providing team identity. This is important because it gives the team members a sense of belonging. For example belonging to a team without a name is different than playing for FC Barcelona.
- It shows the team's mission, providing a purpose for their work. This is one of the factors that contributes to a team member's intrinsic motivation (next to mastery and autonomy, see Daniel Pink's excellent Drive). E.g "we create the best navigation solutions for our car drivers so they always find their way easily."
- It shows team members' personal preferences. This is important since knowing eachother better means understanding eachother's behaviours better. It also enables team members to experiment with different types of interaction. This can be the result of any personal preference method like for example MBTI or Management Drives.
- It shows the team's values, providing a team's behavioural standards. This is important since these values define a team mindset (culture). E.g. we value honesty, openness, quality.
So how do you create such a Team Poster? I designed a workshop that starts with a good lunch and ends with a fine dinner at an inspiring outdoor location. You need to create an excellent context for the team to be creative since they will co-create this Team Poster. Have an agile coach facilitate this workshop.
- Personal Preferences game. I used the Management Drives method. It provides an easy framework for understanding eachother's preferences and pitfalls as well as it provides an aggregate team profile. Team Members take a survey before the workshop and receive their personal profile before the workshop. During the workshop the individual results and team results are discovered by playing a game. This results in team members appreciating and understanding their peers' preferences. They put a picuture of themselves and their profile on the team poster, as well as their team profile.
- Mission game, world cafe style. Make 3 small groups. One group discusses what the team produces (e.g. the best mobility solutions); another groups talks about who they are doing that for (e.g. our car drivers) and the third group discusses why they do that (e.g. to find their way easily). After some rounds the world cafe, the mission statement is crafted by the entire group (we create what for who so that why). I kick this off with a bit of theory about good and bad mission statements and some examples. It surprises me how easily a team is able to write down their mission statement.
- Team Value game. For this, I use the waterline metaphor. On a flipover I draw a waterline. Team member's prepare two stickies with their personal most important values. They stick it down the waterline and explain it to the others. After dot voting, the four most important values are put above the waterline, now reflecting the team's values. Make them think about the opposite of that value for better understanding.
- Team Name. Most team's already have a name. Simply write it down. If not, or if their name doesn't fit because they have not chosen it themselves, start a timeboxed creative process to come up with a name.
- Team Building game. I like to play the "Here comes the King" game. Let the team place n+1 chairs (n = team size) randomly in the room. Ask them to sit down. The King (facilitator) will then come in and walk in a straight line to the empty chair and sit down. Goal: prevent - as a team - the King from sitting down. The longer it takes, the better your team performance. Rules: if you stand up, you cannot sit down on the same chair; it should always be safe, especially for the King so no body checking. After playing a couple of rounds you will notice the King sits down within a few seconds. The facilitator encourages the team members to inspect and adapt and grow. This is a really interesting social experiment! It does not result in a poster widget, instead the team starts knowing their decision making strategies, informal leaders and conflict handling strategies.
I have learned that this workshop is fun and very effective. Teams open up and start collaborating more intensively. And that's what it's all bout: individuals and interactions. Why don't you start running yours? I'd love to hear your experiences. Have fun!