Do you ever fantasize about Nirvana? Before you start humming one of Kurt Cobains hits, please hold on! That’s not the Nirvana I’m talking about 🙂 . Here, Nirvana is meant as the state of perfect happiness. The ultimate fulfillment of once purpose in life. Pure perfection I would say.
Well in the agile world, Nirvana is called ‘high performing squad. It’s the dream!
I hear and see lots of people around me busy with high performing squads. Trying very hard to spot them, nourish them, take care of them as the chicken with the golden egg. Well, far away from all the buzz and not based on any detailed study and research from some famous fancy firm, here are my observations about high performing squads. But I warn you! You have to pay close attention! They are a rare sight. So if you find yourself a high performing squad and get the chance to work with them, be sure to enjoy it 🙂
5 characteristics of high performing squads:
- Perfect group communication: the whole team can be in a room with many other people and they are still able to communicate perfectly with each other. Deeply understand and thoroughly listen to each other. It’s beautiful to watch and fulfilling to learn. They’ll complete each others sentences, build on each others ideas, correct each others mishaps in a very subtle way and speak with a single voice. This comes from a deep understanding and respect for each other.
- Ownership: they take their product damn seriously. Like it is their family business. They always put the customer central and go the extra mile to deliver on their commitment. You don’t need to push them! Probably, you might even need to slow them down from time to time.
- Humility: they are usually individually best in class in their expertise area. But! These people won’t shout it over the roofs. There is no room for arrogance or ego in a high performing squad. They’ll always recognize their mistakes and take responsibility for them. They dare to fail but most importantly always learn from it. These guys don’t play the blaming game.
- Mastery: they are expert in their area and they perfectly complete each other. They do not need to all be the super duper ones but together they rock! They dare to try new technologies and learn new things. They are a center of expertise for the whole organisation.
- Laughter: they genuinly enjoy what they do. My experience is that they are usually the loudest on the floor 🙂 . It’s like a family. If you walk by you can feel that warmth and friendship.
I myself enjoy working with squads that are close to perfect (please forgive me my honest, non biased opinion 😉 ). They make me laugh, they make me proud. But as all precious things, they need to be nurtured. An organisation needs to reckognise them, invest in them and give them the space to perform at their best. As one wise man once said: it’s all about hiring great people and getting the hell out of their way!
That’s it for now folks, Saloua
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