Group Coherence for Project Teams - Common Purpose


to requests for new hardware, enterprise software and support. Shortly thereafter they setup an internal mechanism called "Operator" to answer formal requests.

This informal group of people is a community with its own set of values and principles and takes pride its success. No executive needed to get involved to set up a service agreement, to schedule work, to agree to shifts or prioritize the work. It just happens.

This community first experienced all four types of Group Coherence in the context of creating "Operator". Shared success has earned that community a level of trust within the enterprise to participate in the full decision-making process. They can now participate in all four types of enterprise decisions for their projects, making Group Coherence available to them at all four levels.

Agile methods include participants on the right side of table 2 in the definition of project team. We suggest that it is also necessary to create participation of this project team in the decisions traditionally made on the left side of the table. Managers and executives shouldn't make decisions in isolation from the people doing the work.

In the process of making their own choices on enterprise decisions, the group is far more likely to learn about the project, to improve on its starting definition, to have a strong personal attachment to its success and to embrace the changes that inevitably occur during the execution of complex projects. Decision-making through Enterprise Practice thus creates a strong sense of Common Purpose .

Management by Communities is one possible approach to reversing the consequences of fragmentation in our organizations. Other collaborative approaches and tools will be discussed in future posts.

Book References

  • Tom DeMarco and Timothy Lister, Peopleware: Productive Projects and Teams - 2 nd ed., New York, Dorset House Publishing Co., Inc., 1999.
  • Margaret Wheatley, Leadership and the New Science, San Francisco, California, Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc., 1999.

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

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