The Rise and Fall of a High Performance Team

Article

Warner, Anne; Janson, James; Piekos, John   (1995, ASQC)   Digital Equipment Corporation

International Conference on Software Quality, October 23-26, 1995, Austin TX    Vol. 5    No. 0
QICID: 11177    October 1995    pp. 217-228
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Article Abstract

A case study of a software development team at Digital Equipment Corporation reveals the characteristics of a team at peak performance and how to maintain its success. This group of eight software engineers began with confidence and experience. Team building then was enhanced during a workshop on process improvement. The workshop generated feelings of ownership, trust, and respect. The transition to high performance team occurred when its success went beyond the members' own expectations. Other characteristics of high performance teamwork are: work load balancing; asking for help without fear of blame; viewing conflict as opportunity; empowerment; consistency in problem solving; trust and respect; commitment to the team and its goals; and having fun. From the perspective of an outsider, a high performance team works seamlessly and is self-running. However, this team's goals did not match that of management, and this communication problem led to dissolution of the team. To prevent team failure and to main high performance levels, a team should: communicate its successes; address conflict immediately; and be flexible, adaptable, and persistent; and not isolate itself from management. Management's responsibilities are to: understand the team; be aware of what it is doing; remove barriers; and share and reward the team's successes.

Keywords

Case study,Commitment,Communication,Teams,Management,Rewards and recognition,Software,Empowerment


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