THREE WAYS TO INCREASING PERSPECTIVES IN YOUR TEAM

Are you working in a team that have lost its momentum? Or do you feel like there is a lack of generating new ideas to progress in your project? Then this article might give you some inspiration on how you can start experimenting in your team to get your momentum back on track again!

With complex problems, one thing I always try to keep in mind is that there will be harder to have a consensus about What and How, in other words, there will be more uncertainty. And I think this is something that just needs to be accepted, maybe even embraced? I think software development is one case where more and more work can be identified as complex. Contradictory requirements such as:

  • Quickly be able to deliver a new release with features of high quality
  • Have a scalable and adaptable infrastructure

These are not uncommon contradictions that will increase the complexity of what approach that should be taken to proceed.

I believe that complex tasks need experimenting and interaction of many perspectives to be solved. This is where cross functional teams with a diversity of ideas have a great potential! Read How to Build Awesome Teams for some great and inspiring insight on how to make your team great!

Creativity creates new ideas that can form new experiments and way forward to find solutions for your complex tasks. One way for individuals to boosts creativity is with physical activity as explained well by Andres Hansen in his book “Hjärnstark” for example. Running before work, taking 20-minute walk and more are all useful ways to boost creativity for a good time after the physical activity. And some knowledge work can be done while walking, like one-on-one status meetings for example.

But, besides physical activity, what can we do to increase a new flow of ideas and have more fruitful discussions in our team?

One thing to do is to actively work with increasing perspectives in the team by defining new contexts using new environments. New environments and different contexts delimit the thinking in new ways and set new boundary conditions to which we have to think within, a new perspective so to say!

Here are three ways based on playing with context and new environment to get new perspectives into teams that work with complex tasks:

Community of Practice (CoP)

Wikipedia: “A community of practice (CoP) is a group of people who share a craft or a profession“. I think this is a great way to get new insight and perspectives, a discussion like this could involve members from different team to discusses and learn about common problems and situations they face. For example, join Scrum Masters from different assignments to discuss and share their unique perspectives and see where overlaps exist and don’t. Then bringing back these new insights in the work in the teams. Our maybe you work with quality assurance like I do myself, then joining different people working with test automation could be a great way learn and have new ideas about how to make your test framework scalable and future proof. One power of consultant companies is the diversity of perspectives that is gathered of this kind, a perfect area for making use of CoPs.

Job rotations

While teams that work together will develop tacit knowledge as the team get to know each other more and more and thus be collaborating more effective, after time the team members eventually can become too aware of each other which leads to behaviors being too predictable. When this happens, it might be good to switch members around to get some new perspective into the team. For consultants this becomes natural as we change assignments and by that get our job rotation. But this is not only applicable for consultants, I think changing group or project to work in, even only for a temporary time can be great to get some new fresh environment and new thoughts!

Repetitive meetings

Repetitive meetings not only risk being boring in the sense of “the same old story” but also ineffective since we eventually will be running on some sort of auto-pilot. This is why I think differing agendas on meeting is a simple way to have more engaged and valuable meetings. Vary agendas without sacrificing the goal of the meeting can be done with retrospective meetings for example. Funretrospectives.com is one place with many ways to do lessons learned meetings but experimenting with own ideas could be even more effective! Changing agenda changes context. Context forms behaviors and therefore way of thinking and the ideas that we will create. As long as the purpose of the meeting still is fulfilled, I think everything should be allowed.

I think that what makes great teams stand out, is that they have synergy. To keep up the synergy of ideas I think working to enable more new ideas to be formed is one great way to perform better as a team.

Do you have other ways for increasing creativity in teams? Or other ways to work with increase perspectives in your team?

Let’s connect and discuss!