EppsNet Archive: Teamwork

Are Daily Stand-Ups Harming Your Team?


Woody Zuill: Are Daily Stand-Ups Harming Your Team? Read more →

Osmotic Communication


Does it take you 30 seconds or less to get your question to the eyes or ears of the person who might have the answer?   Osmotic communication means that information flows into the background hearing of members of the team, so that they pick up relevant information as though by osmosis. This is normally accomplished by seating them in the same room. Then, when one person asks a question, others in the room can either tune in or tune out, contributing to the discussion or continuing with their work. […] When osmotic communication is in place, questions and answers flow naturally and with surprisingly little disturbance among the team. — Alistair Cockburn Read more →

Misperceptions About Teamwork


Six Common Misperceptions about Teamwork – J. Richard Hackman – Harvard Business Review Read more →

In a Conference Room


Stop being false just because you’re in a conference room. Start actively engaging. For example, when you think an idea someone states, or one a group adopts, is a poor one, investigate it. Either you don’t understand it, or it is a poor idea. Stop everything, and find out why someone would say such a thing at this time. What was the purpose? What is the meaning of the contribution? Your teammates will have to live with your inquisitive engagement. You will be present, and you will engage them. You will see them. You will hear what they say. You will seek information about their emotional states, beliefs, plans, and skills. You will connect with other team members to the maximum extent possible. They will have to adjust to your strategy and its results or else not invite you–which would be fine. — Jim and Michele McCarthy, Software for Your… Read more →



The principal effects of SharedVision derive from the group’s continuous validation that an object of compelling beauty and importance can be, and will be, achieved by its combined thinking and intense, concerted action. Attempting a goal like that typically found in a vision statement of this class of team requires substantial ambition. The SharedVision object is something that each team member would most likely see as impossible to attain on an individual basis, were it not for the ongoing validation and sustained support of the other team members. The object itself is — or at least becomes — loaded with supreme meaning for the team. Nothing is more important. The team’s commitment to attaining the SharedVision object is a passionate one. So animated is the team’s fervor that the only real difference between a shared delusion and a SharedVision is the rational, step-by-step behavior of those experiencing the vision, which… Read more →

Ask for Help


This is the first, and most important, lesson of teams: ask for help. So we live by this lesson. If they don’t ask us for help, they never learn who we are and what we have to give. It can be frustrating for us, and hard for them, but not as frustrating and hard for both as us wasting ourselves upon people who do not want what we urge upon them. — Jim McCarthy Read more →

Aggregating Intellect


A team can aggregate the intellects and elevate the nobility of the group as a whole to create a greatness of effect comparable to, or even surpassing, any individual genius. — Jim McCarthy Read more →

NARCh – Day 2


Two more round-robin games on Day 2 . . . Game 3 – Mississauga Mission Rattlers Remember when I said Mission Black Ice is the best 16-and-under team I’ve ever seen? I may have spoken too soon on that. I’ll be shocked if the Rattlers and Black Ice don’t face each other in the final to find out which team is really the best in the universe. The Devil Dog goalie was great yesterday but not today. He gave up eight goals, should have stopped about five of them, but didn’t get much help from his teammates either. Final Score: Rattlers 8, Devil Dogs 0. Ouch.   Game 4 – Colorado Dynamite Both teams came into the game with a good chance of slipping in to the playoff round as the fifth and final seed with a victory. It was a very even game — too even. The game ended… Read more →



The distinctive conduct that marks successful project teams is this: They know there is a time to diverge and a time to converge. That is, in each of the project planning phases (e. g., feasibility, conceptual, definition, execution), the team first moves outward (diverge) to gather information and ideas and to generate alternatives — only then does the team move inward (converge) to focus, evaluate, and select. — “Ninety-Nine Rules for Managing ‘Faster, Better, Cheaper’ Projects” Read more →

The Authority of Ideas


A team committed to providing great products or services on time will shift its point of view on authority. It will move from viewing authority as emanating from bosses to viewing authority as emanating from ideas and from the nurturing and championship of an ecology of ideas. — Jim McCarthy Read more →

The Safety to Express Ideas


Teams must intentionally create an environment where it is safe to express all ideas. — Jim McCarthy Read more →

The Real Development Task


The real development task of a project is to create a community capable of making and keeping hundreds of small but vital promises. — Jim McCarthy Read more →

A Basic Fact of Team Sports


Revision Devil Dogs, my kid’s roller hockey team, won the AAU West Coast Winternationals 16U AA championship yesterday. The Top Scorer award went to a boy from the second-place team who had 11 goals and one assist in the four round-robin games. Eleven goals and one assist?! Pass the puck, Gretzky! A basic fact of team sports is that a concern with individual stats interferes with winning. Read more →

Twitter: 2009-07-20


RT @RonJeffries: I can waste time in so many ways. How can I monetize this skill? # You don't hear a lot of FORTRAN jokes from cats – RT @sockington: 10 MEOW 20 GOTO 10 # Showed this video at an IT team meeting this afternoon. Good discussion on teamwork ensued. http://bit.ly/EAA0 #kicklikeagirl # Read more →

Urgent vs. Important


From the Lean Enterprise Institute: Are we all clear on what is really important for our organization in order to solve customer problems and succeed in the long term? (Or, stated another way, can we get past the merely urgent?) Are we agreed on what big problems we need to solve as a team? Are we sure what obstacles are in our way and their root causes? Have we — or will we now — assign responsibility for determining the best countermeasures and removing the obstacles? Critically important, do we have a way of surfacing and resolving all of the cross-function, cross-department conflicts that stand in the way of resolving all major problems in any multi-functional organization including ours? Read more →

NFL Week 17 Recap: You Can’t Win With Knuckleheads


My son is 15, he’s played competitive roller hockey for a number of years — including winning a 12-and-under national championship — and the main thing I’ve learned in that time is that a player’s individual skills are not nearly as important as his ability to play as part of a team. We know lots of kids with terrific skills but if they just want to do their own thing out there, you put them on a team and they actually make the team worse. Or to put it in a nutshell: You can’t win with knuckleheads. I was reminded of that last weekend as I watched Dallas, with talented knuckleheads like Terrell Owens and Pacman Jones, get knocked out of the playoffs with a 44-6 loss to the Eagles, who cut Owens in 2005, and the Jets, who cut Chad Pennington to make room for drama queen Brett Favre,… Read more →

Managing Teams


Instead of “managing” the process in the traditional sense, management can help a lot more by: realizing that it is the teams that will discover and make the improvements, not management, giving teams the responsibility to manage and improve their own process as well as the freedom and authority to do so, establishing an environment that actively encourages teams to be totally honest about their problems and impediments, listening to what the teams say they need and respond to those needs, observing teams in action instead of just collecting numbers, providing useful feedback to teams instead of instructions or pressure. — Steven Gordon Read more →

Foundations of Mediocrity: Scheduling


My primary complaint about scheduling is simple: that people are willing to proceed as if they can look into a crystal ball about the future. They act as if they can plan out the future. As if they can control the future. It’s the control part that really gets to me. It bugs me because it’s a false belief. It’s simply not true. You can not control the future, and the belief you can is just so destructive of creativity, teamwork, spontaneity and interaction among one another. This false belief is just a complete energy zapper, an unwholesome energy sink. — Michele McCarthy This transcript of a Jim and Michele McCarthy podcast is the best discussion of scheduling I’ve read today, maybe ever . . . Read more →