outten.net - random thoughts

Team Values

While playing sports (namely basketball) for a number of years, I played on a number of different teams and had a number of different coaches (2 main coaches in high school and college). Looking back, it was very interesting to see the different styles in coaches and players. I was pretty lucky for the most part, the majority of my experiences were on teams that understood the concept of “team play”.

One thing I didn’t completely realize was how important the coach’s leadership was and the values they instilled. When a player first joined the team, they wouldn’t completely fit in or at the very least they would struggle a litte. Having these core values, provided by the coach originally and promoted by upperclassmen, the freshmen (or new transfer) has a base to build from. As they grow as a player and person (going from freshman to sophomore and so on), their playing skills would develop, but they would also continue to ‘buy-in’ (or gel) to the team values. Of course, this happened at a different pace for everyone depending on the player.

I am starting to see that again in the agile software development. As teams shift and grow, you go through this process over and over. I think it is important to have those underlying values, but the overall appearance of the team will reflect the current players. I am learning there is a delicate balance between emphasizing values, letting the team gel and using the strengths of the new players. If too much emphasis is placed on values, it suppresses the strengths of new players. If the values are shifted too much, you lose the history that has brought you success in the past. I feel like it is somewhere in the middle that allows your team to gel the quickest depending on the number of returning starters you have from the previous season (or project).