Monday, May 19, 2008

Are Team Agreements Useful?

Jim Brosseau has an article at InformIT titled "Testing That Team Agreement" It goes into the difficulties of setting up a team agreement.

I've read about team agreements:
Each team is required to write up a team agreement form. The purpose of this agreement is to identify, agree upon, and formalize each team member’s individual responsibilities and accountabilities. The minimum length for this agreement is two pages.


I don't like team agreements, because I've never seen one that was anything other than, be nice to each other. How long does the meeting have to be and how many ways do we have to say it before everyone is on the same page with "Be nice to each other". Everyone gets a say, I won't interrupt, I won't personally attack someone, I won't call someone's idea stupid unless it is, I'll be happy, smile, and participate, I'll dance and laugh and sing, oh, and I'll do this all for half price during these meetings because we have a Team Agreement.

Unless you are on a team that has some specific rules that need to be followed in order to further the project, where the rules are not so much team rules, but project management rules, then everything will continue to come down to Be Nice to each other.

I have no use for an agreement that tells me what common sense already tells me, it just makes me want to call the organizer of such an agreement stupid, which would be against the agreement, if they weren't actually being stupid and wasting time.

Here's my proposal. A team has expectations. This is put on the team by the business, it's not negotiable. "You are expected to work as a team, communicate with each other, help each other, stand up for each other, and get along amicably at work. You will communicate your status and let management know when things are behind and why." If you cannot do these things, then you will not be a part of this team. Your agreement is your acceptance of your paycheck. The point at which you no longer agree, you are free to stop accepting your paycheck.

The team agreement now does not ever need to be modified, there is no need for a meeting about what it is, it's be nice to each other. Now please, don't waste any time on the agreement, and get down to accomplishing the goals before you.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Bravo Steven!