Communication and Cooperation When Implementing CM and ALM


In her Personality Matters series, Leslie Sachs examines the personalities and people issues that are found in technology groups from cross-functional, high-performance teams to dysfunctional matrix organizations.

Competition and Cooperation
As Jurgen Appelo points out, competition and cooperation are found among many species and illustrated by the behavior found in different species that exhibit a type of “selfish cooperation” that is counter-intuitive, although highly pragmatic [2]. This type of behavior is often found in cross-functional teams. Your job is to keep the interactions constructive and the mission of the team on track.

Cross-functional Teams
Agile practitioners are certainly strong proponents of self-managed, cross-functional teams. The truth is that cross-functional teams have been around for a long time. Cross-functional teams have specific requirements for their success. Successful cross-functional teams display coordination across team boundaries regarding practices, standardization, and shared resources [3]. Cross-functional teams also ensure that the various components are working toward a common goal through effective communication and coordination.

Communication and Coordination
“The purpose of communication and coordination is to establish timely communication throughout the organization and to ensure that the workforce has the skills to share information and coordinate activities efficiently.” [4] Communication and coordination are implicit in establishing effective CM- and ALM-related activities and also help to foster cooperative behavior.

Cooperative Behavior
Helping your teams increase collaboration will improve cooperative behavior. Tom Tyler notes this in his book, Cooperation in Groups, “It would be hard to overemphasize the importance of the level and type of cooperative behavior engaged in by group members in shaping the extent to which groups can function efficiently, effectively, and, ultimately, successfully.” [5]

Effective collaboration, communication, and cooperation are essential for the success of any endeavor. Good managers model and encourage the interpersonal skills required to help an IT team be successful. You can effectively implement CM and ALM better by taking into consideration the personality of the group as well as each of its individual members.


[1] Aiello, Robert and Leslie Sachs. Configuration Management Best Practices: Practical Methods that Work in the Real World. Addison-Wesley, 2010, p. 153.
[2] Appelo, Jurgen. Management 3.0. Addison-Wesley, 2011, p. 262.
[3] Appelo, Jurgen. Management 3.0. Addison-Wesley, 2011, p. 292.
[4] Curtis, Bill et al. “The People Capability Maturity Model.” Addison-Wesley, 2002, p. 136
[5] Tyler, Tom and Blader, Steven L. “Cooperation in Groups.” Psychology Press, 2000, p. 23

About the author

Leslie  Sachs's picture Leslie Sachs

Leslie Sachs is a New York state certified school psychologist and the COO of Yellow Spider, Inc. ( Leslie is the coauthor of Configuration Management Best Practices: Practical Methods that Work in the Real World, Addison-Wesley Professional ( Ms. Sachs has more than twenty years of experience in the psychology field and has worked in a variety of clinical and business settings where she has provided many effective interventions designed to improve the social and educational functioning of both individuals and groups. Ms. Sachs has an M.S. in School Psychology from Pace University and interned in Bellevue's Psychiatric Center in New York city. A firm believer in the uniqueness of every individual, she has recently done advanced training with Mel Levine's "All Kinds of Minds" Institute. She may be reached at, or link with her

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