Today the topic of our conversation would be team building techniques. We will start with some well-known widely used in all types of companies all over the world. And we will finish with some unique techniques we apply at Code Inspiration. We are always happy to share our replies in our social blogs and networks to your questions. Feel free to share team building techniques you apply in your office or at your company.
All of us know daily stand-ups which are a part of Agile methodology, and which have already become daily routine for most of the employees. During your daily stand-ups each team participant shares some important information about what he is doing at the moment, shares some of his concerns or further plans. The main idea of a stand-up is that it should be a short, something like 5-10 minutes meeting. That is to say, if you have a team of 50 employees it is for sure not necessary to have them all and to spend one hour while all of them would listen, or in most cases just doing nothing while others will share their plans. If you have a rather big team, it makes sense to divide it per groups to keep the stand-up short and informative.
What should be obviously announced at the stand-up is: risks and problems. Make sure that your team understands that basic rule. Prior to going into details of their ongoing tasks they should make aware about potential risks of the project or problems which may arise.
This daily meetings help a lot to make the team unique, to be aware and prevent problematic situations, and to provide a team with a feeling, that everyone knows what is going in the company in general. Also, it will help to remove borders between managers and their developers, providing an opportunity to feel like all the team is “in the same boat”.
This is also a well-known and popular technique. When it comes to making a decision, when you have something to discuss about the best solution for the project, when it comes to an improvement of the company from inside, apply brainstorming. Usually it is done in the form when a group of people is sharing lots of ideas which come to their mind and in the end you have a list of ideas. What for might you need that? The answers could be really different. But let’s have at least 2 examples.
- You are willing to have a party for the 10th anniversary of the company. Of course, you are willing to do it the way that your employees would enjoy it and remember for a long time. In a half an hour of brainstorming you will have a list of absolutely different ideas.
- You have a team working on a project. There is a complex task and the client is not sure which way is the best to proceed. Announce the topic of your brainstorming to your team and after you will get back to your client with options to select.
The last point we couldn’t but mention, there are some topics which your employees might be shy to discuss, in this case, you can always do the brainstorming anonymous and just collect the results.
Very similar to what we have just described about brainstorming, but still different. Anonymous listing is usually done to improve something in most cases inside the company. It is applied “inside” and “outside” the company. Mostly aimed to collect the feedback in order to achieve improvement.
When it is done inside the company — the points to improve would be managing part of the company. As most of the employees would never say directly that they are not satisfied with some conditions or behavior, most likely they will share it in an anonymous listing.
An anonymous listing outside the company, or simply reviews collected from the customers, are mostly aimed at improving employees. How would you know what is going on between your employees and your customers. The better way is to collect their points and to have a clear understanding, as there is always a room to improve for any company.
2 years ago before Christmas holidays one of my colleagues messaged in a group channel with a question, who want to be “a secret Santa”. When I have no idea what people are talking about — I always say “Yes”. So absolutely without any understanding I accepted to take part in this “Secret Santa” and never regretted it.
Every year before holidays we have some pizzas and wish one another happy New Year. That evening was much funnier and provided us with a great opportunity to know each other better. The main idea of a “Secret Santa” is to provide each participant with a name of another participant to whom he will give present. And not even give but put under the Christmas tree with his name. We have also agreed on a maximum sum for the present. Of course, it is optional. And it was really a great activity, especially for those who didn’t know their team-mate well and tried to find out what does he like.
By the way, now there are millions of different tools which will help you to collect names online and keep the process automated and anonymous.
Funny characteristics of your team-mates
This was another great idea of a PM at Code Inspiration. One day he came with a hat and told me to take one name from the hat. I asked him whether we are playing “Secret Santa” and should I prepare a present. And he said “no”. All you need to do is to prepare a positive characteristics of this person and send it to the general channel.
I have never though it would be that hard for me to think and find funny points. And I didn’t think it would be so funny to read about others, especially when it came to our CEO and other managing stuff of the company.
Hope you will give a try some of the techniques I have described. For sure most likely all of you know about them, however, maybe for one of you it would be a reminding and for others just a new vision of well-known team building ideas.