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Archive for June, 2010

Is the Whole Greater than the Sum of Its Parts – Or Does it Lead to Incompetence?

How can a group of people – all of whom are individually capable and reasonable, form a team that is incompetent and unreasonable?  This is an intriguing topic being discussed on the Scrum Alliance Google group site.    Normally when we think of teams we think of a “greater collective intelligence” or how the “whole is greater than the sum of its parts”.   However, sometimes teams can also be “incompetent”, “unreasonable” or dysfunctional.  How can that be if the individuals within the team are not that way?  One view being expressed by the person that raised the topic is that team problems are often caused by people being afraid to open up about uncomfortable truths.  During meetings they will nod their heads in agreement, but in private, they fume.    Is this because they do not know how to voice their disagreement in a non-confrontational manner?  Or is it because team members do not have transparency into the complete status of the project and what other team members are doing and therefore their decisions may be biased due to lack of information and empathy?  Scrum tools and agile games are great because they address these “people issues”.     Using Scrum helps to create an environment of transparency which in turn leads to better communication and understanding among all team members .    If you have an opinion on this topic – jump into the conversation.