Group Coherence for Project Teams - Common Purpose


projects require integration with participants from the right side of Table 2. In A Spaghetti Dinner from Peopleware, DeMarco and Lister describe how a new project manager invites her team to her house shortly before the project begins. Her intention is for everyone to rally around a common challenge - making the dinner collaboratively!

Although the dinner is a group product that enables the group to start to Practice together, it does not represent a deliverable consistent with the Enterprise Common Purpose . Social "jelling" does not compensate for the lack of Practice in previous enterprise decision-making which still affects the group when performing the implementation work.

Agile methods help to replace silo definitions of functional success with a sense of purpose, which the project team shares for each implementation. Agile project team decisions incorporate group members from the right side of Table 2. This allows the project team to collaboratively develop a shared definition of "done" through Practice.

Without this group definition, every functional team optimizes for not being the team to blame for failure, rather than optimizing for the project's success. A silo environment makes it possible for someone else's failure to contribute to your own success.

The Practice in making decisions on the left side of Table 2 provides opportunities for Group Coherence for the designated participants but not for the project team unless they are included. To prevent this silo effect, an enterprise definition of "done" needs to be developed with participation by the project team. Enterprise Practice gives the team experience and information that guides them throughout the life of the project, improving their judgment to the point where they can make the right decisions with little or no oversight.

Achieving this might be possible through self-organization into non-hierarchical structures such as enterprise communities. This would allow decisions to be made by groups in a safe environment where everyone can have access to Group Coherence and a shared Enterprise Common Purpose .

Enterprise Management by Communities
Tacit Knowledge is an elite global Agile consultancy founded in the Bay Area in 2002. They are experimenting with what could ultimately be defined as enterprise management by communities.

Chris Andrasick, CEO and founding partner, shares the principles in his public blog post " Empowering the Karaas ". Chris describes how his company "needed to support communities in places where a nexus between company strategic goals and a pervasive human interest existed - then get out of the way". He defines eight components to shape and empower the communities, which we summarize as:

1. Common interest

2. A mission statement established through consensus

3. Rules for consensus-based decision making

4. Principles for self-organizing

5. Rewards by valued contributions to the community

6. Enterprise 2.0 Collaboration Tools

7. Frequent but sustainable meetups

8. Shared content

 Their approach could create a large number of opportunities for employees to experience different types of Group Coherence in the context of the successes of each community. While initially many of these successes might not have a direct link to company results, they will provide Practice so employees can achieve success together on anything they agree to take on. As employees get familiar with the experience of shared success, they will seek to repeat it more frequently and get better at learning from Practice.

Eventually a community success will be aligned with a corporate goal or obstacle. At Tacit, a group of employees with a shared interest and skills in solving technical operational problems created an informal yet highly responsive technical support function at no cost to the company. Together they responded

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