Moving from Cooperation to Collaboration (Agile2012)

Moving from Cooperation to Collaboration by Angela Harms(from Leandogs – a funny and interesting company).

The Hole is greater than the sum

Who wouldn’t like this to be true? All managers striving for this algoritm when working with teams. 

2 + 2 = 5 

High performing teams (HPT) are the concept of this axome as normal performance apply to other mathical rules as 2 + 2 = 4 or the mythical man month say that 

One woman can have a baby in 9 month, 

but 9 women can’t have a baby in 1 month!

Now a lot of team coaches seems to have expirenced that it is indeed possible to have team(s) that are able to High perform and often they refeer to the same theory of how to obtain this speciel team state. One of the classic theories are the Bruce Tuckman Norming, Storming, forming, performing (and High performing has been added!).

Also the agile framework is providing with this understanding of HPT and taking the revenue of all the benefits of making self-organizing empowered team that have be provided with the understanding of what they are building using techniqs that helps them to provide high quality product and are meet by they leaders with leadership and so fort.

These teams are just cooperating as it is defined -they act together for a common purpose. Which is a great team be working with. But you can pay for cooperation and you can force people to cooperation!
Many managers are then mislead that these teams will become HPT – which they will not. These teams will work well and deliver, but not on any factor 2-4 of improvement of their velocity. These teams will cooperate and make the best possible product and hopefully focus on the outcome – they product will come in due time.

Now Collaboration => leads to High performing teams

You must focus on the human needs and skills in your team. Now it all become more fluffy and not something that is easy to measure.

Angela talked about 3 different areas of expertise 1.) Ensure all voices are heard 2.) Involvement where everybody is engaged 3.) Seeking consensus.

Making Collaboration Happen = Cooperation + Angela’s 3 extra focus areas. This is where we as managers often fail because this is not something you can control but only facilitate and hope for!

1. Ensuring all voices are heard

                .Get people talking
                .use “fist to Five
                .make space for anonymous contributions
                .Help the talkers, too talk less
                .Figure out where people are or what kind of people are (see picture – dogs)

2. Involvement where everybody is engaged. 

When building new solutions there are many exciting UX technips that can help here. But is requries that we acknowledge that the hole team must participate in early design and specification if we want to acheive this involvement from everybody.


. not voting
. completing ideas or like)
.create a safe environment (mistakes are something we celebrate, because we learned something).

3. Seeking consensus

In contrast to normal management of teams we need to get the Boss types away. Especially from the key role positions like Scrum Master, Product Owner or People Management roles. Getting Consensus is not something I have seen in many companies and this is VERY hard to obtain. Our hole culture is build on “one person” in the end is responsible and takes charge (and decides). Nothing about consensus.

Yesterday I heard about a company of 300 people where that is no managers – everybody is deciding everything also the strategy and how gets hiored and fired

                .fistof five (5 = best ide, 3 = jah….ok, 1 = neeee, that’s a bad Idea. Tool for conversation
Outliers: be happy for them J

First draft of this Blog – I must iterate on it!

One thought on “Moving from Cooperation to Collaboration (Agile2012)

  1. Hosting Italia

    The very best leaders, in my humble view, are the ones who exhaust the cooperation model before convening the collaboration model. Work as hard as you can to remove barriers and obstacles from your most talented people so they can perform. At times, that barrier may be the collaborative process.

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