It will surprise few working in software development today to read that teams and teamwork are critical ingredients of a global economy. Productivity, product development and release, and even a company's survival increasingly will depend on teams to solve business problems. What may come as a surprise—and a wake-up call—is that, in many businesses, team are complete infective.
William E. Perry in iTeam: Putting the 'I' Back into Team, is that most organizations put too much emphasis on joint effort, removing responsibility, ownership, and reward from individuals appointed to teams. What typically results is dysfunctional, essentially leaderless, and lacking in motivation.
Perry's call to put the emphasis back on individual responsibility among collaborating teammates is an urgent one. Decisions now made by management will more and more frequently be made and implemented by teams, making it necessary for organizations to ensure that the creativity and innovative methods of individuals be retained on teams.
Through extensive team experience and interviews with hundreds of individuals who have spent thousands of hours in team meetings, Perry has identified the attributes of great teams and great teamwork. iTeam examines the ten biggest challenges standing between most teams and excellence and explores in depth the fifty best practices teams can employ to improve performance.
Review By: Ben Linders 04/04/2011
Many books have been written about teams and team working. But do they pay attention to the needs of individual team members? This book does, and it describes how you can build an effective team with individuals. It covers both individual and team needs and provides many solutions on how to blend them. It stimulates the reader to do things, such as getting your teams started quickly and continuously becoming more effective as a team.
The book covers challenges of team working, like selecting team leaders, setting up the team, building trust in teams, avoiding groupthink, and rewarding individual team members. It describes the individual team members’ views of the challenge and provides solutions to handle the challenges.
After reading the book, I had the opportunity of interviewing the author William E. Perry. We discussed about how he blended the individual and team needs in his book, and talked about the main challenges that teams have, and ways to deal with these challenges.
The thing that I like about the book is that it focuses on the individual needs of the team members. At the same time, these individual needs are balanced with the team needs, assuring that the team will be effective and able to deliver. I highly recommend this book to anybody working with or in teams, it will help you to get started quickly with a team and improve your team working skills continuously.
Review By: Warren R. Glore 04/04/2011
This book is packed full of common, no-non-sense information designed to get the corporate team functioning at peak efficiency. Throughout the book, the author makes many analogies between being a manager or team member of a corporate team to being on a coach or player on a professional sports team. In one such analogy, the author emphasizes that the team leader should be held personally liable for the success or failure of the team. The author has noted—from his own experience in working with corporate teams—that when the team does poorly, team members get the brunt of the repercussions while the team leader remains relatively unscathed. However, when a professional sports team does poorly, it is the coach who is replaced and not the individual players. The author believes strongly that corporate team leaders should be held to the same high standards that professional sports coaches are held.
The coach/team leader analogy is further used to show that a coach will train and observe the player over a period of time (usually a training camp) and will only place him or her into the lineup when they are ready. The author believes the same thing should happen in the corporate world. Great corporate team leaders should train and observe their team members and should accept full responsibility when that training does not occur or when the team is not up to the task set before them. As with the professional team, it is the coach's responsibility to ensure that each and every team member is fully capable of handling the tasks assigned to them. If a team member is not ready, it is the team leader's responsibility to train the member.
In all the analogies used in this book, the author has one purpose: He stresses the fact that a team is made up of individuals. Each team member has his own goals, his own likes and dislikes, and his way of doing things. Putting the "I" back into team helps the team leaders and team members realize that the team is full of these "I"ndividuals who need to be trained, nurtured, rewarded and even "cut" from the team if the need arises, for the greater good of the team. Without individuals on each team, the team will fail. Each and every team member should take their responsibility in the performance of their tasks seriously, but it ultimately falls on the team leader, as a coach, to bring them all together into one cohesive and effective corporate team.
This book should be on the desk of every team member and leader in the corporate world.