Jim Collins in his book "Good to Great" has mentioned that the first priority of any company should be to get right people on board. His rationale behind this is that, if you have right people they will take the company to right direction.
I think the most important thing for any project is a good team. Team is a tricky word. Team is not just about putting few people together and declaring them as a team. Team is bunch of individual sharing a common goal and vision and working "together" to achieve that goal. Together is an important aspect of a team. Everyone should work with everyone else; it's about rising above the personal differences and work towards the common goal, with collective efforts.
What Cockburn said above is very relevant, irrespective of processes or no processes project fails and succeeds. I think the most important factor on which the success of a team hinges is how relations are between the team members. A team which shares good relations with each other invariably comes over all the hindrances which can stall the project. I still remember the best team I have worked in is the one where I worked with Ranjan and Amit (in Symbiosis), who are also very good friend of mine. If you are good friends with your teammates, you tend to communicate a lot with each other, communicate not only about project but about everything else as well. Friends are aware of what things are going in your life other than the project. This helps greatly as they understand when you can't put in 100% into the project and they work for you. I remember it was not an easy thing for us as each member of team used to work in different time zone, Ranjan used to work in the evenings, I never had time in the evenings and 11:30 in the night is evening for me. I used to start work around 1 in the morning, there was another guy Amit who liked working in the daytime, no way he could stay awake beyond 12 midnight. Still we pulled the project off and better than most other teams. There were hardly any moments when we doubted each other's commitment towards the team.
That is what team is all about, working for each other, working with each other. I remember how easy it was to work, we never had to communicate with each other regarding the importance of the project and the criticality of the project as there was never a lack of efforts from either side.
This kind of understanding takes time to build, you don't always have the choice of working with your friends and a true professional is supposed to work in all kind of teams. What to do when you don't get a team that has this kind of team bonding. I think you need to take up the responsibility of building up a team where people communicate with each other. You need to take the initiative and build the relationships. You need to iron out the rough edges among teammates. You need to build a team where it's fun to work and people respect each other. It's not an easy task and takes a lot of time but it's worth investing. It’s better to spend time building relations with teammates than spending time cursing the lack of team spirit.
Its people who we work with, and as a human being we tend be subjective. We tend to like some people better than others and since we spend a lot of time working we want to around people who we like. You have two choices either you work with people who you like or start liking the people who you work with, later is a challenge worth taking.
I thought while going through :
1. Alistair Cockburn's book "Crystal-Clear-Human-Powered-Methodology-Development".
2. ideas on how to make a team better.
3. going through some old posters of Techie Kaun on the back of which we designed our whole project.
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