The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teams
This, but it’s also that. Ugh.
We realized there were few definitive truths, few absolute “rules” for forming effective teams. Instead, each point seemed to have an opposite-yet-crucial counterpoint. So we started to distill our thoughts into a list of principles inspired by the structure of the Agile Manifesto, each principle highlighting the symbiotic nature of two opposing ideas.
We hope you find the 7 principles below to be simple and honest, and that they inspire you to consider how your own values can help you build a better team.
Here, have some principles.
1. Happiness over Stress
Positivity, clarity, and a shared purpose are stronger motivators for us than deadlines and feature lists. Stress is not a bad thing, but without happiness, stress is hurtful and not productive.
2. FLEXIBILITY OVER STRUCTURE
Team structure (contracts, rules, process) is only as effective as it is flexible. Structure is itself a tool and should be allowed to quickly change as the work evolves and the team grows.
3. US OVER ME
A good idea starts with one person, but only a team can bring it to life. We believe that being together, communicating directly, and providing constant feedback is the best way to build strong teams and do good work. Involving other people in your work also creates team-wide ownership.
4. SILLY OVER SERIOUS
We’ve learned that being a “professional” and continuously looking for silliness are not mutually exclusive things. When we let our freak flag fly, our comfort zones expand and honest feedback is given and received more easily. Celebrating each other’s weirdness gives us even more energy than celebrating a big delivery.
5. COLLABORATION OVER HIERARCHY
Hierarchy can be used as a cheap way to build trust. That said, we believe a hierarchical system that highlights our different levels of expertise can empower team members. In order for a team to be truly collaborative, it needs to value what each member brings to the table and trust the authority of what they contribute.
6. COURAGE OVER COMFORT
This team values comfort only when it doesn’t keep us from speaking our minds and hearts.
We believe that good people act with good intentions. Natural and lasting comfort takes hold as a team begins to act with the intent of improving the team or the work, and without fear of being personally hurtful or disrespectful. Over time, this preconception will change. Eventually, it will actually feel more disrespectful and hurtful to withhold feelings or observations than it would be to share them.
7. PRINCIPLES OVER OUTPUT
Awareness of and commitment to shared values are more important to a team than its collective skills, talents, and experience. Output that we can be proud of and which reflects who we are is impossible to create without team principles.
OUR TEAM IS BUILT ON ROCK
All of these principles are built upon a single, non-negotiable truth: Good teams start with good people who trust each other to work toward a common purpose. This is the foundation of our team.
Watch our team present these principles to the studio in New York: