Drawing of a toiling worker turning a gearDescription: The team no longer feels challenged, or misses the excitement of new teams and projects.


Challenge Review

Have the team hold a workshop with the manager present to do the following:

  1. Review team accomplishments to date.
  2. Review the mission and goals to find more challenging ones:
    1. For each, ask:
      1. “Is this interesting?”
      2. “Is this challenging enough that we could fail?”
    2. If either answer is “no,” revise the mission or goal. Consider these questions:
      1. “Can we raise the stakes—increase the performance standards we are shooting for?”
      2. “Are there company wide needs no one else is addressing that the team can take on, even if only vaguely related to current team duties?”
  3. Review responsibilities: Are there administrative tasks the team can take over from the team leader or manager?
  4. Consider a campaign to spread teaming throughout the organization.


Consider having team members or the team as a whole “cross-train”—learn other roles while teaching their own roles to the “teachers.” Besides improving morale, this practice provides greater flexibility for responding to absences, emergencies, and changing workloads:

  • Roles—If the team has not been rotating team roles (facilitator, scribe, etc.), propose that it create a plan for those who have been in those roles to provide training and to begin rotation.
  • Jobs—Many teams have improved performance by training members to do other members’ jobs. Work with the team to determine:
    • Which jobs are cross-trainable.
    • What training resources would be required, if any: books, videos, classroom or online training, etc.
    • A schedule for on-the-job training by team members after the initial training is completed.
  • Functions—Is there another function in the company related to the team’s whose responsible team could use help? If so, arrange a joint meeting with the other team to explore the possibility of your team cross-training with it and providing backup.

Learn more benefits and another technique under “Cross-Training” on the Full Scale agile™ site.

Personal Benefits

  1. In a meeting, ask the team: “What should being on a team do for the team members themselves? Notice the word ‘should’—do not limit yourself to the advantages you’ve noticed already, though we want to include them, too.”
  2. List them on the board as people talk, and then combine items.
  3. Ask: “Now, within the team, which of these advantages are:
    • “In place already?
    • “Coming along?
    • “Not in sight?”
  4. Label each item according to their answers.
  5. Say: “Let’s take each of the ones that are not in place yet, one at a time. What can we do to get those in place?”
  6. Establish objectives and action items to do so.

Technique Variation

If the team has been relying on the same solution creativity and decision-making techniques, review those topics and introduce new techniques to change things up.


Tell the world: