THE CHALLENGE – Under-performing teams
The IT division of a Fortune 500 company had created ‘Tiger Teams’; teams specially formed to solve tough business problems. But although composed of highly competent engineers and developers, the teams were often slow to achieve results. They also found that the rest of the IT organization, their internal customers, struggled to understand their value or appreciate their work.
THE SOLUTION – Everyone playing in the right position
The IT organization completed Method Teaming training and began to sculpt their Tiger Teams using the science, language and methodology they had learned.
One of the first revelations that struck them was that the director in charge of project management should have specific natural strengths and talents that were not evident in the incumbent individual. When they made a change, they soon found that results came much faster than before. The new director created solid project plans and made sure that project activities were firmly aligned to the plan.
The outgoing director also benefited. This individual was now reassigned to work with the internal customers. As the owner of the Tiger Teams later put it, ‘We needed to get the rest of IT to understand the project objectives earlier. When the outgoing director was put in charge of this, IT understood what change was coming and why. There was more interest in contributing, no passive resistance.’ The new role was a far better match for that director’s talents than being a project manager.
Another key member was also added to the team. This was someone who was very good at building relationships and empathy and was a consummate networker. They were positioned so as to work the back channels of communication. This facilitated an informal two-way flow of information which did much to set correct expectations all round and eliminate tribal boundaries. IT was no longer fighting code wars.
THE OUTCOME – Higher Productivity
- The Tiger Teams began to work more smoothly and efficiently.
- The wider IT organization began to value and support the Tiger Teams’ work.
- There was a significant reduction in communication breakdowns and less repetition of tasks.
- Team members were more focused and were sharing information more effectively.