How to build high-performing teams fast: lessons from consulting companies

“You’re billing for team setup time? Haha, that’s what I like about you, all the joking!”
  • Same training, same assumptions;
  • Focus on the craft, not on the mission;
  • Practice teaming and re-teaming.

Same training, same assumptions

“I don’t know you but I assume you’re into XP and Martin Fowler.”
  1. Being particular about selection and hiring. ThoughtWorks was known for having a selective, difficult interview process, more so than well-known tech companies.;
  2. Having a much more involved onboarding process. ThoughtWorks University started a little while after I had joined. “After you’ve been officially hired into ThoughtWorks, you’ll spend several weeks with a global network of peers learning how to build working software and how to be a great consultant from day one.” The key thing is that dedicated onboarding is at least on the order of weeks, not days.

Focus on the craft, not on the mission (aka mercenaries, not missionaries)

Being able to rely on the “certain level of competence” I mentioned earlier comes from a focus on craft.

American With No Medical Training Ran Center For Malnourished Ugandan Kids. 105 Died.

Practice teaming and re-teaming

The typical lifetime of a consulting team might be weeks to months; the typical lifetime of a product team, on the other hand, might be multiple quarters.

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Jason Yip

Jason Yip

Staff Agile Coach at Spotify, ex-ThoughtWorks, ex-CruiseControl