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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
O'Reilly Online Learning
How to Contact Us
How to Use This Book
I. What Is Dynamic Reteaming?
1. The Evolution of Teams
2. Understanding Teams
What Is a Team?
Does Dynamic Reteaming Always Work Out?
The Social Dynamic of a Team
As Time Passes, Our Teams Change
3. The Power of Team Assignment
Someone "At the Topö 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
How A Company Reorged with Self-Selection
Teams Strategize and Form Their Own Team Structures
Reteaming as the Team's Problem to Solve
Team Members Trade Places, Then Tell Managers
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?
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 New Hires to Share About Themselves
Form Bootcamps and Help New Hires Form Networks
When People Leave, You Have a New Team
Firing People-When You Reteam Someone Out
When People Leave of Their Own Accord
Saying Goodbye-Do We Announce Departures?
Processing the Fact that Someone Left The Team
The Evolution of People In Our Teams
Pitfalls of the One-by-One Pattern
You Realize You Have an Imbalance of Juniors to Seniors
Not Visioning Out Career Paths from the Beginning
6. Grow-and-Split Pattern
Signs That You Might Want to Split Your Team
Are Your Meetings Getting Longer?
Is Decision Making Becoming More Difficult?
Has the Work of the Team Become Unrelated?
Are You Forgetting Who Is on Your Distributed 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
Shared People Across Teams
Dealing with Dependencies Between Teams as a Result of the Split
Dragging Out the Split
Not Involving Your Facilities and Technology Groups Early Enough
The Emotional Challenge of Splitting Teams
Grow and Split at the Tribe Level
Grow and Split to Drive Code Ownership
What It Means When You're Asked, "How Do We Maintain Our Culture?ö
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
Invite Entrepreneurial People to Join the Team
Tell the Team That It Can Work How It Chooses
Move the Team to Its Own Space
Tell Other Teams to Leave Them Alone
Determine Whether the Team Will Live On, or Fold Back into Other Teams
Pitfalls of the Isolation Pattern
What About Maintenance of the Code?
The Thrilling Ride That Comes to an End
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
When You Don't Calibrate the New, Larger Team
When You Don't Reset or Facilitate Your New, Larger Meetings
When You Don't Figure Out How You Will Make Decisions as a Larger Team
Pitfalls of the Merging Pattern at the Company Level
Drawing Out the Layoffs
Ambiguity Around Layoffs
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
The Desire to Hoard Good Team Members
It Can Be Challenging When a Team Member is "On Loanö to Another Team
With Teams Comprised of Single-Specialist Roles, Your Switching Is Limited
Reteaming to Spread "High Performanceö
The Percentage Anti-Pattern
Disrupting a Productive Team to Conform to a Standard or Best Practice
Reteaming by Abstraction with Poor Communication
The Impact of Toxic Team Members
Keeping the Toxic Team Together
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
Collaboration Dynamics that Restrict and Enable Reteaming
Variables That Impact Dynamic Reteaming
Prime the People for Dynamic Reteaming
Incorporate Dynamic Reteaming Into Your Hiring
Align on Roles Across Your Teams
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?
13. After Dynamic Reteaming: Transitions and Team Calibrations
Coping with Unexpected Dynamic Reteaming
Notice the Triggering, Then Channel Your Thoughts
Talk One-on-One With Leaders About the Change
Get Some Distance-Physically or Mentally
Empathy is Essential when Catalyzing Dynamic Reteaming
Transitions-Coaching People Through Dynamic Reteaming
Talk About the Ending
Mark the Ending with a Ritual
Suggest What to Bring Forward
Team Calibration Sessions
Calibrate on History
Calibrate on People and Roles
Calibrate on Work
Calibrate on Workflow
After Your Team Doubles in Size
Help People "Seeö the Organizational Growth and Know Each Others' Names
Help People Find Shared Causes and Form Guilds
Help People Get a Sense of Shared History
Talking about Culture Change Directly
14. Reflect and Determine How to Shift
Resources for Running Retrospectives
A. Whiteboards to Enable Open Dynamic Reteaming
Supplies and Artifacts Needed
How to Do It
B. Team Choice Marketplace
Supplies and Artifacts
How to Do It
C. Survey Template