Team building: the action or process of causing a group of people to work together effectively as a team, especially by means of activities and events designed to increase motivation and promote cooperation. - Lexico by Oxford
What would be important to me if I became a "manager" in software development? Lets put budgeting and financial aspects aside and instead be focusing on the most valuable resources a company has: The People and their competence; With focus on teams and team building, I believe some of a managers most important tasks are:
- To coach and lead so that teams and individuals evolve.
- To ensure teams have the right resources and possibilities to perform their work in a productive way.
- To define what teams need to exists and give each team a clear purpose and goal.
I believe in letting people work with what they find interesting and with people they feel they can collaborate with. And I wouldn't believe that I as a manager would know this better than the individuals themselves.
When it comes to team assembling. I believe management should focus on what teams are needed to satisfy the needs within each business area and what a good purpose could be for each team. I'm not saying a manager can't pick a successful team. I'm just saying the risk is higher in assembling a non healthy team if managers selects them themselves. Why? Because people are complex. Far more complex than the software you are building. Ask yourself a question: how much do you really know about the people working for you? What are their motivators? What triggers them? What do they feel about the current project or team they are working on? Whom do they like and don't like? It's not easy to establish good relations. But it's needed to get a solid foundation for a team to build upon. And who to you think would have the greatest success in setting this up? You or them?
I don't think there is a you or them. It's something that need to be done in collaboration. But don't be controlling. Focus on being supportive in facilitating this. Support them in getting there: Teams assembled by the teams themselves. It's probably easier said than done. But imagine the valuable feedback that would come out of this? What teams/areas are more popular than others and why. Also, chances are high you have done this in miniformat and that you were quite happy with the result. I'm thinking of hackathons.
But a manager need to measure things and be in control, right? Measuring productivity is of course important, but I would pay great attention to get a continuous evaluation of a "happiness index". Both within teams and among individuals. I would spend time seeing and paying attention to the teams and individuals. Each person should feel needed.
Help out with goals. Be transparent and communicate the companies goals and strategies. Help everyone to feel part of the journey. Let them form their teams themselves and you will achieve true "team building" and increase the chances of getting a autonomous, cohesive and committed team. Achieve this and I do believe you will get a higher productivity.
Now I just need to get a management position and start practicing and trying this out 😀