The difference in the results you can achieve with a truly effective team versus a moderately effective team can be dramatic – especially in the domains where the level of risk, uncertainty, and complexity is very high. And especially in the area of software development where an effective team can be a game changer.
Bringing your team to their top level of efficiency is a not a short and easy road. It is not enough to hire great people. They need to find a way of working together to contribute collectively to team results.
Generally, creating a mature, high-performing team will cost you around 9 months (if not more) of time and opportunities. So, if your outsourcing partner can provide a mature team for your project, you may want to consider leveraging this opportunity.
Why does it take 9 months to create a mature, effective team? Let’s have a look at the most common framework for team development created by the famous psychologist Bruce Tuckman.
Tuckman identified a four-stage development process that most teams follow to become high-performing. He called the stages: forming, storming, norming, and performing. Later, the adjourning stage for team termination was added – but this is beside the point.
The first three stages describe the journey to a cohesive, high-performing team, and they cannot be skipped. Each of these stages takes at least two to three months; and in some cases can take even longer.
During the forming stage, a clear team structure, roles, responsibilities are being identified. Goals and objectives need to be developed. Team members need to start building trust towards each other. It is also important to establish team expectations about the process and product.
The forming stage may also include team sourcing when a brand new team is created.
This stage takes at least 2-3 months, or even more if team sourcing is delayed (which is fairly common). In this stage, team efficiency is rather low.
This stage is the most difficult to pass through. This is a period of competition, disagreement, and conflicts. Team efficiency will decrease even more because of unproductive activities and a large amount of rework.
Group processes must be evolved. In many cases, it leads to the redefinition of team goals, roles, and tasks. It may also lead to team turnover.
This stage can take around 2-3 months or more if replacements were needed to address conflict issues.
During the norming stage, team members begin to develop consensus, unite around the leader, and learn how to cooperate efficiently. Team productivity increases as team members start to focus on the team goals.
There is still a risk of returning to the previous stage if disagreements re-emerge.
The average duration of this stage is around 2-3 months.
At this point, the teamwork, cooperation, and commitment have been well established, and the team has become mature, organized, and productive. The team is achieving its maximum productivity.
9 months do seem like a staggering amount of time to achieve team productivity. Time is of the essence, which is why taking a shortcut and hiring a ready-made, mature team may be something you would want to discuss with your sourcing partner.