For the past two weeks our team here at work have been heads down working on getting a project out the door.  I will omit the answers to the why did the project get there? and how did you let it get there? questions since, although they're important, they would deter from the core reason for this post.

All I have to say that last week was just awesome because of the team synergy (yes, buzzword) that was built around this project.  Essentially, last week was treated as week-long Sprint.  We met on Monday morning for an hour and a half to layout the tasks (list and prioritize) for the week.  Within that meeting, we assigned the work for the day that was needed to be completed before our next daily stand up at 9 AM the following morning.  If for some reason, you couldn't get it done in that time, it got put on the list for the next day and so on.  To make matters more fun, the team was split geographically.  Have of them where here in Des Moines, while the other half was in Boise, ID.

The thing that made the week even better was the fact that everyone had trust each other and on their abilities to complete their tasks before the next day.  There was no, Gee, person x is not going to deliver attitude from anybody in the team; everybody had the same level of commitment regardless of their work load.  If you got done early with your tasks, then we would help each other out until all tasks for the day were completed or brought near completion. To put it in simple terms, this was a team made up of pigs.

On Friday, the day of the demo, the list was 90% complete (the remaining 10% were items that we needed customer feedback in order to proceed) and the product was fully functioning beginning to end.  It was all due fact that you had a team of committed smart people with the same vision helping each other out.  In all, this is what last week taught me:

  • Don't underestimate the power of trust
    • Remember that trust is something that is earned, not given.  Also, you must work twice at hard to keep it alive.
  • You're wiser at the end of the day than you are at the beginning of it.
    • As you go along the day, you must be very comfortable with change otherwise anything from the norm will drive you bonkers.
  • There's no "I" in team.
    • Yeah, we've all heard it before but do we really understand it?  If you get "done" first, then it's your job to give back by helping out a team member.
  • It's the people that make projects succeed or fail.
    • Smart, goal-oriented people are an unstoppable force; the same goes for smart, ill-oriented.

Have you had experiences like this before?  If so, I would love to know about them!