Regardless of project content and goals, there are group dynamics that define the size of a team. Teams that are too large are difficult to organise, if only in terms of deadline coordination. They also tend to fragment into sub-teams with informal sub-project leaders.
Teams that are too small, on the other hand, not only lack capacity, they also lack the diversity of opinions to generate creative solutions. A team should therefore consist of at least five and a maximum of ten people.
Everyone knows it – no boss in the team.
I have asked the following question at all hierarchical levels, from the project team level to the corporate board: “Who is absolutely necessary in the team so that you can be sure that this team will not work?” The answer always follows within a few seconds: A boss!
Please let that melt on your tongue: An answer shot out of a pistol, accompanied by jovial laughter, especially from the bosses present. I maintain that everyone in the world knows that having a boss in the team prevents a team from taking full responsibility.
If the project is not going right, who does management turn to first? Which role do they try to reinforce to save a project? Who is replaced when it is realised that radical action is needed to correct the project?
And what distinguishes a particularly good project manager? That he takes responsibility for his project. That he identifies 100% with his project. That he burns for the project goal with commitment and complete dedication. And what happens in terms of group dynamics when someone with this ideal-typical description takes responsibility for his project in a group of people?
Meetings with the boss run differently.
You know the situation: The team is sitting in the meeting room, no boss is present. Everyone discusses in a concentrated and committed manner in order to find a solution. Everyone participates, they talk with their hands and feet. Solutions are drawn on flipcharts, everyone is eager to add to their colleague’s idea. A highly dynamic flow.
Suddenly the door opens and the boss comes in. It’s a good boss, he doesn’t want to disturb – only to listen, to show attention. That’s why he approaches the table very politely, almost on quiet soles, and sits down next to one of the team members on a free chair. He smiles and nods encouragingly because he senses that the discussion is going well.
What happens to the highly dynamic, extremely creative and constructive solution-finding discussion just now? “Uh, maybe we should give the boss a quick summary?” Or: “Yes, we were just about to take a break anyway.” Or the discussion goes on a bit played while the real energy level has slipped below 50 %. Why? Because someone came into the room with responsibility invisibly tattooed on his forehead. And that is the phenomenon of responsibility.
The sensitive balance of responsibility.
As soon as someone in a group has a little more of it, it falls away from the others. Responsibility is highly sensitive, invisible, it can build up and break down at the speed of light, so to speak. In certain constellations it will not exceed a certain level.
AGILE wants to raise the responsibility of each individual team member to a higher level. This is precisely the fundamentally new approach, the cause of the sensational successes we have been able to achieve with this method in many industrial companies.
More responsibility taken by each individual team member.
The team must be freed from any kind of leadership, including informal leaders. But you know how it is: if a project leader removes himself from the team, space is often made for an informal team leader. He or she gladly takes on the new role because he or she sees career opportunities and is more committed to it. This is welcomed by the management.
Team members are also often quite open to this. Teams that have been used to being led for many years fall into a kind of helplessness at the beginning and ask for a decision. Sometimes a junior, informal team leader is virtually pushed into this role by the team.
The AGILECOACH should prevent both of these. His goal is to increase the acceptance of responsibility in each individual team member.