A collection of individuals is not a team. Many teams, even successful ones, have work dynamics that do not encourage working together and collaboration.
Why does this difference matter? In my experience, teams that work as a collection of individuals tend to be less flexible and resilient to changes to both the roadmap and team confirmation. Team members also tend to grow at a slower pace.
So, what can you do to encourage communication and collaboration?
- Promote a mindset of shared responsibility for all team tasks. This means that no single person but the whole team is accountable for getting things done. The entire team has failed if a task is not completed on time.
- Have all work visible on one board. There is no list of tasks per team member; the whole team uses the same board to track task status and assignments.
- Transparency of asynchronous and synchronous communication. If you work in an office, have the whole team sit together. If you work remotely, use a private team channel to do most of the communication. If there is a meeting where the entire team does not participate, share the meeting notes with the whole team.
- Retrospectives. Have a space with a regular cadence to make things better. Celebrate successes and discuss how to make things better.
- Work together to learn. Schedule some time every day or week to do pair or mob programming. Sacrifice data entry speed for spreading insights, learning shared mental models, and generating and validating new ideas.