Your team will change whether you like it or not. People will come and go. Your company might double in size or even be acquired. In this practical book, author Heidi Helfand shares techniques for reteaming effectively. Engineering leaders will learn how to catalyze team change to reduce the risk of attrition, learning and career stagnation, and the development of knowledge silos.
Based on research into well-known software companies, the patterns in this book help CTOs and team managers effectively integrate new hires into an existing team, manage a team that has lost members, or deal with unexpected change. You’ll learn how to isolate teams for focused innovation, rotate team members for knowledge sharing, break through organizational apathy, and more.
- Real-world examples that demonstrate why and how organizations reteam
- Five reteaming patterns: One by One, Grow and Split, Isolation, Merging, and Switching
- Tactics to help you master dynamic reteaming in your company
- Stories that demonstrate problems caused by reteaming anti-patterns
Table of Contents
- Foreword by John Cutler
- Foreword by Diana Larsen
- I. What Is Dynamic Reteaming?
- 1. The Evolution of Teams
- 2. Understanding Teams
3. The Power of Team Assignment
- Someone “At the Top” Put Them on the Team
- The Managers Decide the Team Membership
- The People Take a Survey to See if They Want to Change Teams
- Managers Encourage People to Volunteer for a Team
- Managers Arrange Team Self-Selection Events
- Teams Strategize and Form Their Own Team Structures
4. Reduce Risk and Encourage Sustainability
- Reteaming Decreases the Development of Knowledge Silos
- Reteaming Reduces Team Member Attrition by Providing Career Growth Opportunities
- Reteaming Decreases Inter-Team Competition, Fostering a Whole-Team Mentality
- Reteaming Yields Teams That Aren’t Ossified, Making It Potentially Easier to Integrate Newcomers
- Reteaming Is Going to Happen
- II. Dynamic Reteaming Patterns
5. One-by-One Pattern
Add People to Existing or New Teams?
- Seeding Teams
- Include Your People in the Organizational Design
- Hiring to Sustain Culture and Development Practices
- Plan and Communicate about the Arrival of the New Team Member
- Get Things Together for the New Hire Before They Arrive
- Encourage Managers to Pay Attention and Influence the New Hire
- Support the New Hire as Well as the People Around Them
- Assign the New Person a Mentor
- Use Pair Programming to Onboard New Developers
- Encourage Shadowing
- Encourage New Hires to Share About Themselves
- Form Bootcamps and Help New Hires Form Networks
- When People Leave, You Have a New Team
- Pitfalls of the One-by-One Pattern
- Add People to Existing or New Teams?
6. Grow-and-Split Pattern
- Signs That You Might Want to Split Your Team
You’ve Decided to Split, Here’s How to Do It
- Include the Team in the Decision
- Articulate Why You Are Splitting the Team
- Figure Out the Missions of the New Teams
- Determine Who Will Go on Each Team
- Come Up with a New Seating Plan for the Resulting Teams
- Figure out the Team Names
- Tell Others About the Resulting Team Assignment
- Formally Kick Off the New Teams
- Pitfalls of the Grow-and-Split Pattern
- Larger-Scale Splits
- Grow and Split to Drive Code Ownership
- What It Means When You’re Asked, “How Do We Maintain Our Culture?”
7. Isolation Pattern
- Isolation to Pivot the Company from Failure
- Isolation for New Product Development
- Isolation to Spawn New Innovations in an Enterprise
- Isolation for Solving Technical Emergencies
- Scaling the Isolation Pattern
- General Recommendations for the Isolation Pattern
- Pitfalls of the Isolation Pattern
8. Merging Pattern
- Merging Teams to Enable Pair Programming Variety
- Merging Tribes Together to Form Alliances
- Merging at the Company Level
- Pitfalls of the Merging Pattern at the Team Level
- Pitfalls of the Merging Pattern at the Company Level
9. Switching Pattern
- Switching Pairs Within a Team
- Switching Pairs Out Completely for Problem Solving
- Switching Teams to Share Knowledge and Support a Feature
- Deliberate Switching at a Cadence to Share Knowledge
- Rotating Developers for Friendship and Pairing
- Switching for Personal Growth and Learning
- Pitfalls of the Switching Pattern
- 10. Anti-Patterns
- III. Tactics for Mastering Dynamic Reteaming
11. Adapt Your Organization for Dynamic Reteaming
- Explore Where You Are on the Dynamic Reteaming Ecocycle
- Organizational Constraints and Enablers to Reteaming
- Prime the People for Dynamic Reteaming
12. Plan Your Dynamic Reteaming Initiative
Create Your Dynamic Reteaming FAQ
- What Are the Problems Solved by This Reteaming?
- How Will People Get Assigned to Teams?
- How Will People Find Out Whether They Have a New Team Assignment?
- How Are Existing Teams Impacted in Particular?
- How Is Existing Work Impacted?
- What Is the Composition of the New Teams?
- What Does the Organization Look Like Before and After the Reteaming?
- What Technology Systems or Other Equipment Needs to be Updated or Acquired with the Reteaming Initiative?
- What Seating or Office Changes Will Take Place Along with the Reteaming?
- What Training or Education is Needed with the Reteaming?
- What Is the Communication Plan for the Reteaming Initiative?
- What Is the Schedule for the Reteaming Initiative?
- What is the Feedback Plan for the Reteaming Initiative?
- Create Your Dynamic Reteaming FAQ
13. After Dynamic Reteaming: Transitions and Team Calibrations
- Coping with Unexpected Dynamic Reteaming
- Transitions—Coaching People Through Dynamic Reteaming
- Team Calibration Sessions
- After Your Team Doubles in Size
- 14. Reflect and Determine How to Shift
- IV. Conclusion
- A. Whiteboards to Enable Open Dynamic Reteaming
- B. Team Choice Marketplace
- C. Survey Template
- Title: Dynamic Reteaming, 2nd Edition
- Release date: June 2020
- Publisher(s): O'Reilly Media, Inc.
- ISBN: 9781492061298