Can you change your team?

Yes you can!

The words may have gotten a bit old by now. I still say: you won’t know until you have tried and succeeded.

Are you working in one of those teams, that I described in my last article? It can be hard to imagine, that you are able to facilitate any change regardless of your role in the team.  Are you the team leader and everybody thinks you should be the one to change everything? Or are you a team member and you think you do not have the power to change anything? You all have your excuses for not even trying:

Team Leader: “I have these great ideas but I have no idea how to get the team to accept them, they are too stubborn and they hate having to change.

Team Member: “I see all the possible improvements that could be made and I really want to change the way we work, but I cannot tell anyone what to do. I just don’t have the authority!”

Even when every person on the team knows that something should be done, it does not mean that anything is going to improve by itself! Toss out the excuses and imagine that you can change the way things are: because you can!

The question is how?

People are loath to change. We all know that. Who has not watched at least one if not several attempts to improve the way a team works and see them fail miserably? Initially people may give new ideas a try. And yet after a few weeks somehow everything is back to the “good” old way.

I think the reason for this happening is, that the majority of people is settled in their routine. Any disturbances are likely going to be viewed as exactly that: a disturbance.

Start small

I propose starting with small changes on the biggest problem. My question at the end of the article was about this: “What is your biggest issue currently?” That should be your starting point.  With the most obvious problem you will have the best chances to convince your colleagues or team members to do something about it.

I have asked a few people and  got some of the following answers:

  • “I do not like how people are treated and how they treat each other”
  • “I hate that we are asked for estimates for the projects, which are then ignored”
  • “I wish I knew what my colleagues were working on, I hate being a 1-woman-show”
  • “There’s just too much work.”
  • “There’s too little work! I don’t have anything to do and I am bored.”
  • “I don’t know, what my job is, half of the time.”
  • “I have no idea how far my team got with their work this week.”
  • “Our projects always take longer than planned for.”
  • “The requirements are written badly and change all the time”
  • “I cannot get any work done because there are too many meetings, telephone calls and people coming into my office.”

Take your pick of 1 thing.

What is the smallest step you can take towards solving this problem?

Tomorrow I’ll post the second part that talks about different approaches to achieve change and improve your life at work.

This entry was posted in processes. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Can you change your team?

  1. Uli says:

    You are perfectly right in what you say.
    The hardest problem I (personally) have: How to change your team without annoying your team? I never managed to get that right: Either my team mates still like me but things are changing very slowly or things get changed but some team members get pissed…. I have to try harder ….. 😉

    BTW: I’ll pick the third item on your list.

    • Sonja says:

      I’ve always tried to first show people that we had a problem. I started out with the exact same problem as yours. I was working (mostly) alone and needed to know what my colleagues were doing. I convinced them that we all had a problem getting in each others way and that it would be beneficial to all to solve this problem. Then we talked about solutions – I already had one in mind – and finally we arrived at the decision to introduce the “Daily Scrum”. And btw I never called it “Daily Scrum” in the beginning because nobody was supposed to know that it was my goal to introduce Scrum 😉

  2. Ute says:

    Hi Uli,
    from my experience as a Scrum Master: you don’t change the team, you just enable/allow the team to change itself. Ask them if/what they feel needs to change, and how they would go about it, and then you only need to make them stick to what they decided to do by themselves, that’s much easier (and less annoying for the team members).

    • Sonja says:

      That is it exactly. People only change their ways when they see the change as coming from themselves. Plus you don’t need to be their boss or their Scrum Master to do this! It can also work just as well with your colleagues.