Group Coherence for Project Teams - Collaborative Interaction


project team is a necessary but not sufficient condition for achieving Collaborative Interaction . Critical obstacles to collaboration must also be addressed. Team-K did this in cycles of continuous improvement, an emerging Collaborative Interaction resulting in a hyper-productive team.

Collaborative skills are not imparted during formal education, so attention to group and collaboration techniques such as Cooperative Inquiry is required. This tool can help increase the successful adoption of collaborative methods. Cooperative Inquiry applies to any group that wishes to leverage its experience for a practical result. It can help groups to become more collaborative by providing a methodology that they can follow as the group works on a practical problem.

Cooperative Inquiry can be taught and applied at both the enterprise and team level. All four types of Group Coherence in the enterprise can be approached this way.

Agile development is a good fit for utilizing Cooperative Inquiry as participation by all members is a principle of both. With obvious parallels to short iterations, transparency, inclusion, visual charts, retrospectives and continuous improvement, this tool can help different parts of the organization integrate with the rhythm and methods of Agile teams.

Book References

  • Amr Elssamadisy, Patterns of Agile Practice Adoption, C4Media
  • Tom DeMarco and Timothy Lister, Peopleware: Productive Projects and Teams - 2nd ed., New York, Dorset House Publishing Co., Inc., 1999.
  • John Heron, Co-operative Inquiry: Research into the Human Condition , London, Sage Publications, 1996

About the Authors

This post was written collaboratively by Joanna Zweig and César Idrovo.

Joanna Zweig holds a Ph.D. in Integral Studies with an emphasis on Learning and Change in Human Systems (how groups learn and Change) from California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco, California and a Project management Institute (PMI) Project Management Professional (PMP) certification. Her research on Group Coherence was motivated by her practical experience in two collaborative professional fields where groups exceeded expectations and experienced enormous energy and success in their goals.  She is a project manager in information technology in large businesses for more than 15 years and a producer and director of theatrical productions for more than 20 years. Her passion for collaboration in creative groups helped her to formulate the idea of group coherence and carry out her four-year research project to find out about it. Her research on group coherence revealed a way to learn about capabilities of collective consciousness. She is currently an independent consultant and CEO of Integral System Response, Inc.

César Idrovo created his first hyper-productive team at JPMorgan London during 2000, in response to strong demand for his own work. He recruited a highly heterogeneous group and implemented "continuous collaboration" to achieve high team cohesion and tangible results. In several instances, his team's tactical solutions were adopted as strategic implementations and are still in use today.  From 2003 he has focused on formal Agile methodologies and adaptability to high rates of change in requirements, creating further hyper-productive teams. As a project and program manager, he has applied Scrum for managing, tracking, and delivering working software in time-boxed iterations and introduced Extreme Programming including 100% pair programming. He has worked on practical complementary techniques to Agile practices for management and executive levels such as Project Patterns and Adaptive Roadmap.

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