blueprint consulting services

Insanely Productive Teams –
June 2014

Recently, I had a chance to be a part of something truly great. It was a global launch of a product that, while only a short time in the making, would help direct a Fortune 100 company in the direction they want to go. And, the great thing I’m referring to wasn’t the product launch. It was the team that created the product that launched.

Anyone who has been in the technology world has likely had the opportunity to be in many different teams. Action oriented teams. Functional teams. Fun teams. Dysfunctional teams. Process driven teams. Top-Down teams. Agile teams. And, we’ve all seen varying degrees of success, and spectacular failure, with each style of team. This is what makes each new team management book launch to the NY Times Bestseller list.

But, what makes a team work? What makes a team transition from functional to insanely productive?

It’s the people.

Specifically, a combination of people that are directed, motivated, and drive to results. An insanely productive team needs:

The Visionary: The Visionary is someone who not only knows what needs to happen, but can communicate it in a variety of ways (visually, orally, and literarily), in such a way that everyone can see a single clear vision. They are gifted in their ability to translate thought into simplified visual tools to communicate direction and vision.

The Customer Advocate: The Customer Advocate is critical in any project. They are sometimes the business owner of a project, and other times they are the Subject Matter Expert. They not only interpret the business need and usage to the team, but they are a tireless advocate for the broader user base.

The Architect: A vision is nothing without someone to design what will be achieved at a tactical level. They question, they think, and they translate the vision into reality.

The Developers and Engineers: These are the people, in the technology world, that are actively creating the deliverables. Because, at the end of the day, even the best vision and plans need to be implemented.

The Driver: The Driver is the person who continually helps refocus the team on the top priorities. What are the blockers? What is the ETA? Their relentless pursuit of the goal sets the tone, pace, and drives the whole team to the finish line.

Each role is critical to the success of the team. Remove any single role, and you’re lacking an essential element.

And, when each of these team members have the ability to understand, appreciate, and take on each of these roles at various times, you move from simply functional to insanely productive. The team I was honored to be a part of embodied all of these attributes. We came together and through dedicated, directed, and laser focused effort, were able to achieve something great and have fun doing it.

As I write this, we are receiving kudos from around the globe. That feels great. But I’m even more excited to start working with this team on our next release.

- Mechele Gruhn, Consultant
Blueprint Consulting Services