The Problems with Overachievers on Agile Teams


Overachievers are the team heroes—those who come to the rescue when the project is in trouble. They feel the need to pull the project single-handedly from the brink of failure. This may seem like the type of person you need on your team, and it may produce short-term results. However, it has a disastrous effect on the dynamics and well being of the team. Incorrect management reinforcement can set up a feedback loop that kills team productivity, which in turn makes the overachiever seem necessary.

You must mold the overachiever into a catalyst for whole-team productivity. Redirect the overachiever toward teamwork. Reward collaboration, take advantage of the overachiever’s tendencies in helpful ways, or directly challenge the overachiever to change. By doing this, you will be on the way to promoting whole-team effectiveness.


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User Comments

1 comment
Dave Maschek's picture

The key to this article was that the overachiever "secretly felt insecure". The authors make a good case how overachievers can subvert an Agile team by trying to do everything and thus not allowing others to function as full team members. However, I have seen insecure underachievers cause trouble on a team also. The corporate world has insecure people who can subvert a team by not sharing information, playing safe by always painting a rosy picture, putting up unnecessary roadblocks, giving outdated advice, stubbornly acting against Agile principles, insisting they are always right and so on.  

August 14, 2014 - 12:25pm

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