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Debugging Teams by Ben Collins-Sussman, Brian W. Fitzpatrick

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Chapter 2. Building an Awesome Team Culture

Team cultures are incredibly varied and reflect a wide range of values and priorities. Some promote team success, and others promote team failure on a grand scale. However, even among the cultures that lead to successful teams, some are incredibly efficient and focus the majority of your team’s effort on the work they set out to do, while others provide a great deal of distraction from the task at hand. In this chapter we’ll talk about culture, with a strong focus on various communication techniques that contribute to success. We’ll identify how these techniques can be used to create any product more efficiently with a team of humans.

What Is Culture?

When you hear the word culture, your thoughts typically wander to either an evening at the opera or the dish of jelly growing bacteria that you had back in high school biology. It turns out that engineering team culture isn’t all that different from the latter.

dbtm 02in01

If you’ve ever had a really delicious piece of sourdough bread and took the time to hunt down the person who baked it, you would find that the key ingredient to the bread is a starter containing yeast and lactobacillus bacteria living on a diet of flour and water. The yeast is what makes the bread rise, and the bacterium is what gives the bread that amazing tangy, sour flavor. However, not all lactobacillus strains are alike, ...

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