The Best Software Tester in the World?

Attention to detailIf you ask ten testers to each test something, you will typically see a varied amount of defects detected. This will still be the case if all of the testers had exactly the same experience and testing knowledge. This is quite often down to how focused the tester is when looking at something (attention to detail). While at first glance something may look good, but on closer inspection, defects can be seen. Attention to detail is what makes a great tester stand out from a good tester.DiplomacyDuring the day-to-day tasks a software tester has, there will invariably come a time when the tester needs to converse with others, more often than not with software developers. When speaking to a developer about a bug they found, the tester must always bear in mind, that they are essentially finding fault in that developer’s work. Diplomacy skills are a key asset to any software tester as they are paramount in building and maintaining a healthy working relationship with the development team. A poor relationship between software testers and developers can negatively impact any software development and place unnecessary risk on the project.

Quick LearnerSoftware testers that work for outsourced QA companies will often find themselves switching between a huge variety of projects, which today may include web, mobile, smart products and wearable tech. Being able to ramp-up on a product saves precious time during a development life-cycle. Sometimes software will need to be tested that has no documentation. Therefore, the software tester needs to be able to explore the software and quickly extract the information they need. This key information may be used to create a test plan, a set of test cases or QA estimate.PassionateIt is easy to spot software testers that are passionate about the software they are testing. They typically find more defects and they show enthusiasm during meetings for not only the product they are testing, but also for software testing in general. Clients are much more likely to re-hire software testers that are enthusiastic about their product. On the flip side, software testers that show no enthusiasm quickly stand-out and it invariably shows in the quality of their QA work.Business OrientedA great software tester can see the product as whole and take on the mind-set of the intended audience. This skill is extremely useful in reporting issues that may otherwise be found by the end users after the product’s release. Another aspect of business orientation is the ability to understand why a certain functionality is being introduced, and applying this knowledge to their testing. This information can enhance the testing being performed and provide a richer set of results. A tester should also be able to appreciate that deadlines need to be met(and as is often the case) may result in a reduced amount of time for QA. Being flexible and understanding of the business impact of the deadline of a release is extremely important to the relationship of the test team with the rest of the product stakeholders.

ConclusionThere is no specific criteria as to what makes the best software in the world, as each company, or project may have a different requirement or goal as to what they want the software tester to achieve. Our QA team’s experience of testing a wide variety of software products for clients all over the globe has given us great insight as to what kind of testers we needed to make those projects a success.

High Performance Work Teams

Team Practice, Not Just for Football

Many business leaders are dunderheads. “Why?” do you ask in shocked dismay. Because they routinely miss a huge improvement opportunity. Business organizations and companies, when they are enlightened and awake, are interested in high-performance teams. When internal business groups can powerfully collaborate, business problems are solved in an efficient manner and solutions are implemented quickly. This then gives the business a strategic advantage.

The concept of improving group performance as a way of improving overall outcomes is commonly understood by sports teams, theater groups and the military. These types of groups clearly see the need to improve their individual performances and their performance as a group. They have designed processes for their groups. In the military it begins with “boot camp.” Then you graduate to “training” and “war games.” In sports this group improvement process is called “practice” and in theater, “rehearsal.”

This is where being a business dunderhead comes in. For the most part, in business there is no formal practice that is designed to enhance or improve group performance. Oh my… Could we have a missing here?

A Group is Not a Team

Over my years in business as a coach, I’ve heard business leaders refer to many groups of individuals as “teams.” You hear business leaders use the term all the time. For the most part I cringe and hyperventilate when the word “team” is used in business. I react this way because it is usually not an accurate description the group being described. I then get a rash.

I’ve found it to be useful to distinguish business groups from business teams. In business organizations you either have groups or you have teams. For the most part you have groups. A group is made up of individuals each accountable and focused on doing their own job. In a group there is no common work agenda other than that they work for the same company.

Imagine a group of individuals waiting at a bus stop or a group of operators at an online call center taking reservations. In groups there is no need for joint collaboration or group output. Everyone involved is focused on their individual activity. The individuals involved are not connected by having any type of joint work produced.

In teams there are a number of people involved with complementary skills focused on the same outcome. These individuals are mutually accountable for an agreed upon result. The mutual accountability, as we shall see, is a big deal and a very significant difference between teams and groups.

Avoid the Surgery “Group”

For instance, imagine a hospital meeting where you have a group of physicians sitting at the same table. They are there to swap information and educate each other. Each of these physicians is accountable for their own patients. They for the most part wish each other well and they like to gossip!

When these doctors are back in their hospital units there is no mutual accountability to each other for their work or results. They do work for the same hospital but that is where the connection ends. At the meeting they are there to learn, improve and be collegial. Each will do their own individual doctor thing. They have no mutual accountability to each other. This truly is just a group of doctors.

Now take the medical group that is doing hip replacement surgery on your father-in-law. There are various nurses, doctors and technicians all involved and all engaged in a joint-get the pun-work product. I think humor in writing is healthy. Oh my god, another pun.

Clearly the group of individuals doing surgery are related to each other much differently than the aforementioned doctors at the aforementioned boring hospital meeting. With hip replacement surgery we have a team because there is a group procedure and the individuals involved are, as a group, committed to performing this procedure together. And, beyond just performing a procedure, the surgical team has a commitment to having their patient be alive and healthy.

The surgical team members are dependent on each other for carrying out their mission. There are handoffs and dependences. While individuals have different roles and accountabilities, there is a common focus, an interrelatedness and a joint-that word again but I am not going there-involvement and concern.

The surgical team has mutual accountability for the success of the operation. Whether the patient lives or dies is a group event. As a team, they are also capable of much more complex tasks than a single individual doctor. You can imagine that a single physician simply does not have the ability that a coordinated team of medical experts have.

An Orchestra Without Rehearsals

Back to business-gosh, I like the sound of that. Team performance does not just happen magically. It is not a function of the right combination of personalities or luck. This goes against conventional wisdom and typical business pop psychology.

In my bald-headed estimation, for a group of business individuals to really perform together as a team, they need both practice and group conversation. Now there is radicalism. The individuals involved need to understand the best way to organize for team performance. Then the team needs to take action on that understanding and tangibly perform together.

This focus, conversation and actions allows business teams to emerge. Boot Camp for the military, rehearsal for theater and pre-season workouts for sports teams are the norm. Again no radical thinking here. These practices are undertaken in order to attain improved group performance

Typically, in business there is far less interest or appreciation of group development and the need for groups to practice. This borders on bizarre.

What typically happen in business is that groups are formed and marched into the corporate battle zone. They are expected to perform, to fight the noble fight, and when they fail, there is stunned surprise. Again bizarre and again a case of dunderheadism.

When one really looks at what business typically does with groups, it appears ludicrous. Yet this is how business teams are typically organized. No wonder they are not real teams. As I watch business groups perform the above, I see the same pattern of vain hope and failure revealed over and over again

Inside the Bowl

IMAGINE A FISH BOWL where you are the observer watching a group of executives at a strategic planning retreat. Many of these executives are wearing plaid shirts and blue jeans because we are in the wilds of northern Wisconsin. That is what you wear up there in order to blend in with the locals.

In the paneled meeting room, complete with flip charts and no internet, the Divisional Leadership Group is looking at making their sales numbers. Instead of seeing this as a departmental issue, with Sales not making their budget, this group takes on being mutually accountable for the divisions result.

What you do not know is that this type of approach is a HUGE ENORMOUS breakthrough. It is a total break from this group’s past behavior. They have had five years of not making their sales number and not being profitable. They have had five years of operating in silos and competing against each other.

Again, unbeknownst by you, they recently got a new leader. This leader came in committed that they, as a leadership team, were going to operate as a high-performance work team. Heck, they even hired me as the coach. You can imagine their desperation. BACK TO THE FISH BOWL…

“I can give you three million from my funds,” the Marketing Director excitedly blurted out. “It is too late in the year for them to really make the difference. Let’s slide it over to Carl. Sales can use it for coupons and working with the sales reps and the chains. We could make our numbers that way.” The wizened and battle scarred Sales VP nearly fell off his chair. “Wow! That could really work,” he exclaims excitedly.

Then, Ralph, who was the Division Leader and had who had led and supported the initiative to become a high-performance leadership team, leaned forward and exclaimed, “Great thinking! This is just what we are after. It is our money-not designated for silos, but ours as the leadership team to use in the way that will give us the biggest bang for the buck,” he acknowledged. “Let’s put our heads together and figure out how we can best utilize these new funds.”

High-Performance Teams Produce Results

This group went on to make their numbers and profit. They did it as a real team that was mutually accountable for the results. By operating in this fashion, this group made a profit for the first time in five years.

This is not the first time in business groups I’ve seen this type of performance breakthrough. Over the years I have seen many teams that started as groups that then went through a formal process of business team practice and development. Subsequently, from this learning and practice endeavor, true performance breakthroughs resulted.

It happened in Canada with a major insurance company. They, in gratitude, gave me an all-expense-paid vacation and a statute of a goose. It happened in a Minneapolis-based business. Their leadership team grew their company from seven people and under one million to 250 million and 200 employees. The company went public and I got stock and made some real bucks.

It happened in the wilds of Illinois. There a company utilizing a high-performance leadership team doubled in size from 19 million to 40 million in one year without any major glitches. In all these examples, the use of high-performance business teams were critical to the attainment of these business results.

Growing High-Performance Teams

I know that you are now saying, “Ok Bozo head, I am sold. But how do I do this? How do I create a high-performance work team?”

The following are the five things that are critical in having business groups grow and develop into high-performance work teams.

1. Members of a high-performance work teams have a common performance agenda that all members subscribe to and support.

Teams do not spring up by voodoo, magic, and/or mystical thinking. The essence of a good work team is a focus on performance. It is not good communication or good relationships but a focus on team performance and an agreed upon appreciation of what this means that allows a team to really get results. The good communication and good relationships are an outcome and result of a team that is performance driven.

The above is tough to acquire in the typical business work culture. In the common work place people individually are typically and truly related socially. This means that for the most part they are concerned with getting along and staying out of each other’s hair. Basically it is the difference between how do I relate to people at a barbecue and how do I relate if I am a part of the work team who is going out to win a road building contract. The road building team has to work together to have the lowest, but still profitable, bid.

The nature of the relationship of the employees on the team is quite different from the people at the barbecue. The first is based on the social contract of “Lets all just get along” and the second is based on the contract of “Let’s get something remarkable done and perform together so that specific results occur.” One group is social around eating meat and the other is based on performance; on getting the bid against some very real competition.

Who is Really Into It?

2. Teams enjoy and are engaged in what they are doing. They are into it.

The vast majority of employees go to work because they have to in order to survive. In many cases they are victims to work. That is the culture most adults live in. Victims make useless high-performance team members.

This is different than in the world of amateur sports, drama and dance. People voluntarily play sports because they want to and like the game. When members of teams fundamentally do not like the games or do not feel connected to the game the group is playing, there will be real performance issues. For things to move forward and for real results to get produced, the team has to be into the game.

The Team is Accountable

3. High-performance teams are, “a small number of people with complementary skills who are equally committed to a common purpose, goals, and a working approach in which they hold themselves mutually accountable.”

I agree with the definition of real teams from The Wisdom of Teams by John Katzenbach and Douglas Smith shown above. Real teams are basic units of performance. Where the mischief comes from regarding teams is that the members of the team are mutually accountable for the result. This is quite different than how most of the work world is organized.

In the typical work place, each employee is accountable for their job. At best, their manager and supervisor are responsible for their work. There is no group or team performance that is formally measured or expected. The pretense is that if each employee just does his or her thing it will work out perfectly.

Unfortunately the work world is more complicated. In many cases, customers are impacted by a group of employees. When a group takes on being mutually accountable for the experience customers have of the business, then they can generate real customer-focused actions. From this tangible and positive business results occur.

A Developmental Process

4. High-performance teams develop in stages.

It is good for teammates to be aware of these stages because they normalize the experience of growing and developing into a high-performance team.

This model is not originally mine, but is a form of the “forming, storming, forming and performing” model. I just gave it a tweak. Groups can be asked to find themselves in this model and then design what they need to do to reach the next stage. Again, this exercise is great for focusing the team on growing, developing and designing next steps.

The stages are as follows:

Stage A – The exciting “first-date” stage. This is the birth of the group and there is typically some excitement and anticipation about the potential and possibility of the group. There is a lot of uncertainty but there is also optimism.

Stage B – The “poop-hits-the-fan” stage when reality sets in about how group life can be hard and demanding work. It is no longer fun and there is finger pointing between employees. Mutual accountability by most is seen as an empty concept and team members look at who to blame for their results.

This is where most teams die. There is the need for the manager’s and coach’s real support and focus. Commitment needs to be generated to work through the issues. This is also where the employee’s love of the game is needed. For most groups, Stage B is where focus and discipline is critical for success.

Stage C – Getting behind the game stage. This is when everyone begins to align behind group performance and what needs to happen in order to allow the group to succeed. Discipline and focus arises with the group following the same ground rules and work approach. For the first time, real group performance results are seen.

Stage D – This is the high-performance stage, where the team is really using its group structure to produce some remarkable results. It is typical at this stage for the team to get recognized both internally and externally by customers for the business results that are being produced. Team members also typically like this structure and feel connected to each other. The team is winning their game.

We Designed Ourselves

5. A high-performance team designs its own high-performance structure.

A manager and leader is critical here. First, I have teams create their Purpose Statement. This is much less abstract than the company’s mission or Vision statement. It is a few simple statements in business terms about what the point and object of the team is and how they are going to work together to achieve this. Keep it simple and real.

I then have the team create one to three simple metrics by which they will measure themselves. Who will measure and when they tell the team how they are doing in achieving these metrics also needs to be determined.

The team then outlines what it is committed to getting done in the next six months to a year. These are clear measurable objectives and results. Have no more than six to eight of them, with a “by when” date on when they’ll be achieved. Monthly milestones and action plans may also be necessary to properly focus action

The meeting structure then is designed by the team. When they meet and for how long needs to be addressed. Who leads the meeting? Are their notes taken and distributed? How does the agenda get set and by who? These are critical issues to clarify.

The last aspect of this high-performance team structure is that the team sets ground rules for themselves on how they will interact. Ground rules are behavioral expectations that the team members have of each other. These include things like: If you have an issue with someone on the team, deal with them directly. No gossiping about members of the team. Silence is agreement, so if an issue is being discussed and you are quiet this is telling the group you agree. If you do not agree then you need to speak up. These ground rules can be quite confronting for some team members.

I have found that having a team design this type of structure really allows them to develop and perform much more quickly. It is important that the team honors and walks this talk.

These are the five critical elements of creating a high-performance work team. It is intended that they be valuable and supportive to you and your work teams. They have been valuable to me as I seek to create and cause high-performance teams in the workplace.

So, do not be another business dunderhead! Get cracking and apply this material. It is worth the effort.

How To Analyze Your Team’s Expectations And Outcomes

In general, the purpose behind analyzing whether team expectations are being met is to promote, enhance or improve something within the team itself to help overcome or prevent specific problems, weaknesses or hindrances.

When analyzing expectations, it becomes important to focus on three types of project-related outcomes: team knowledge, team processes, and the deliverable. Team knowledge includes understanding team terminology, concepts, and relationships among team actions and results.

Team processes are the steps utilized to create a desired deliverable or end product and include: professional attitudes, self-awareness to know when project steps are executed, and self-control during transitions between project-related steps. The deliverable or end product is what is created as a result of team project activity-such as a plan, method, system, document, or process to meet specified needs.

When it comes to predicting, defining and interpreting a team’s results, outcomes and expectations, there are specific skills that should be applied, which tend to cut across all team-related roles. There are four basic questions individual members need to ask themselves before determining if team expectations are being met:

  1. Am I learning what I need to know?
  2. Am I applying what I have learned?
  3. Am I a good role model and expert?
  4. Am I able to teach others to know and apply important team functions, best practices and group dynamic applications?

There are a multitude of reasons why teams may wish to evaluate their performance, including:

  1. Identify accomplishments.
  2. Evaluate if leadership is shared and effective.
  3. Identify team strengths.
  4. Identify points of team weakness.
  5. Analyze team strengths and weaknesses
  6. Identify group dissatisfaction.
  7. Identify low morale.
  8. Identify confusion of team purpose.
  9. Identify drop in participation.
  10. Avoid team stagnation and demise.

Predicting, defining and interpreting a team’s results, outcomes and expectations and their combined effectiveness can be accomplished through a number of assessment and evaluation resources, including:

  • A complete index or listing of definitions that detail outcomes, which multiple audiences can refer to such as organizational employees, upper management, and/or sponsors
  • The drafting of performance criteria for examining team-related outcomes
  • The application of performance review tools for providing timely feedback and for planning developmental actions intended to improve team performance
  • Providing oral presentations and reports to organizational employees, upper management, and/or sponsors

There are very specific success factors that a team must analyze to determine if it is able to obtain, or is obtaining the results it wants:

The Team’s Ability to Organize

Analyze the team to see if it is:

  • Establishing a system to communicate standards of excellence
  • Delegating tasks and responsibilities
  • Aligning people and resources to present information where all audiences can understand key points and issues

The Team’s Ability to Prioritize

Make sure the team is:

  • Researching information
  • Focusing on issues that are most critical to the success of the project
  • Taking into account the feasibility and the relationship to the goal, blocking time to evaluate
  • Categorizing issues and reprioritizing if necessary
  • Identifying the steps to be taken
  • Identifying the necessary issues to be addressed and placing them into an appropriate order

The Team’s Ability to Analyze

Ensure the team is diagnosing and clarifying issues/data by:

  • Gathering the most relevant information
  • Recognizing broader implications of issues/data
  • Drawing logical inferences
  • Examining interrelationships between all alternatives
  • Making decisions that have the greatest positive impact on team outcomes and its deliverable

The Team’s Ability to Manage Time

Check if the team is using time effectively for tasks that are to be completed, including:

  • Establishing priorities
  • Preparing project timelines
  • Monitoring and managing resources
  • Allocating time for the team to work
  • Reviewing updates
  • Thinking about its next action steps

The Team’s Ability to Question

Is the team effectively using questions, which consists of:

  • Formulating open-ended questions that increase awareness of situations
  • Requesting clear, concise information that achieves desired results
  • Providing opportunities to analyze data that results in finding root causes
  • Creating a nonjudgmental, open and creative environment

The Team’s Ability to Facilitate

Make sure the team works collaboratively to help define its overall goals and specific objectives by:

  • Utilizing effective group dynamic skills (questioning, clarifying, paraphrasing, summarizing, consensus)
  • Applying problem solving skills (assess needs, set expectations)
  • Identifying skills and a timeline
  • Analyzing data to help team members create plans that assist them to accomplish and meet desired results and time frames

The Team’s Ability to Present

Check if team members prepare clear, concise, well-organized deliveries of information by utilizing effective oral communication skills such as:

  • Speaking clearly
  • Varying voice volume, pitch and pace
  • Displaying high levels of energy and enthusiasm
  • Applying effective eye contact and body language
  • Engaging the team audience
  • Emphasizing key points

The Team’s Ability to Verbally Communicate

Analyze by incorporating the above skills, to see if the team is able to clearly and accurately explain and articulate its:

  • Mission/vision
  • Ideas
  • Procedures
  • Policies

The Team’s Ability to Make Sound Decisions

Is the team:

  • Using the scientific method to recognize and define a problem
  • Facilitating effective ways to access and collect relevant information
  • Reviewing and evaluating alternative solutions or actions
  • Selecting the best choices and following through with the implementation of decisions

The Team’s Ability to Problem Solve

Ensure the team is creating effective and appropriate solutions by:

  • Employing analysis skills to synthesize and apply relevant information/data
  • Breaking down and clarifying the problem
  • Defining the desired outcome(s)
  • Investigating options and alternatives
  • Selecting the solution that will have the greatest positive impact in the present and for the future

The Team’s Ability to Generate a More Functional Environment

Check if the team is:

  • Selecting and developing members based on individual and group skills
  • Identifying and leveraging personality types to complement their strengths
  • Managing conflict
  • Creating team roles and expectations resulting in group capacity to facilitate win-win situations within the team setting

The Team’s Ability to Implement and Measure

Is the team executing and overseeing its action plan through:

  • The preparation and alignment of expectations and resources
  • The assessing of results against outcomes
  • Removing barriers
  • Identifying strategies for continuous progress
  • Communicating results to stakeholders

The Team’s Ability to Manage Conflict

Ensure that team members use effective techniques and practices to respond to conflict through:

  • Skill and sensitivity that results in presenting one’s position in adverse circumstances
  • Seeking to understand those with whom one disagrees to win acceptance
  • Shaping opinions
  • Earning respect
  • Identifying areas of common concern

The Team’s Ability to Research

Check if the team is:

  • Effectively accessing information from various sources
  • Analyzing and testing effective solutions that result in better performances, which are based on scientific study, case studies and best practices
  • Developing a network of experts both inside as well as outside of the organization
  • Reviewing necessary and applicable journals, books and trends
  • Utilizing experiential data and best practices
  • Conducting external and internal informational scans

The Team’s Ability to Strategically Plan

Make sure the team is developing strategies to achieve higher levels of performance and project outcomes by:

  • Prioritizing critical goals
  • Identifying and prioritizing success factors
  • Translating broad strategies into clear objectives
  • Allocating resources
  • Anticipating risks
  • Identifying constraints
  • Understanding issues that impact team performance

The Team’s Ability to Make Continuous Improvements

Check if the team is continually making improvements in processes and areas of performance by:

  • Scanning the team environment continually to determine what can be done better
  • Creating a team environment where risk taking is accepted and rewarded
  • Establishing a process where information and lessons learned can be shared
  • Tracking the progress of key steps and milestones within the project and innovative ideas that can be readily shared

The Team’s Ability to Provide Positive, Constructive Feedback

Ensure the team is providing and using positive and constructive feedback to:

  • Instill a sense of confidence in others
  • Model behaviors for replication
  • Help others attain higher levels of performance
  • Set up action plans for improvement
  • Aid in initiating a team environment of trust and accomplishment

The Team’s Ability to Collaborate

Is the team seeking the involvement of others by including them in:

  • All decision making processes
  • Establishing and building the team’s shared vision and goals
  • Identifying ways to foster good give-and-take relationships, discouraging “us vs. them” thinking
  • Building a team environment where the contributions of all members are valued

The Team’s Ability to Plan

Ensure the team is developing plans and processes by:

  • Translating strategy into specific goals and objectives to support the team’s vision
  • Identifying team capacities
  • Establishing clear, realistic timelines
  • Identifying specific action steps and accountabilities
  • Identifying, testing and confirming assumptions in the team’s strategic plans

The Team’s Ability to Manage the Project

Make sure the team is effectively monitoring its ongoing progress by:

  • Tracking progress through clearly set goals and timelines
  • Developing specific objectives, milestones, and outcome guidelines
  • Identifying resources and budget
  • Establishing specific responsibilities for collecting and/or tracking
  • Presenting critical variables related to the project
  • Effectively communicating evaluation standards, timelines, expectations, and individual follow-up procedures
  • Scheduling meetings for follow-up and review

The Team’s Ability to Delegate

Check if the team trusts others to take responsibility that is meaningful, important and interesting by:

  • Providing necessary individuals with sufficient authority and resources to accomplish assignments
  • Treating team and work failures as learning opportunities
  • Personally evaluating themselves on the willingness and ability to delegate
  • Identifying barriers that may likely hinder the ability to successfully complete the delegated task or project
  • Creating comfort levels for others

Excerpt: Developing & Planning for Team Results: Pinpoint Leadership Skill Development Training Series (Majorium Business Press, Stevens Point, WI 2011)

Principles of Management – Team Development

For centuries, Teams have been set up and run to allow collective responsibility. In order to take advantage of the clear benefits of teamwork, it is important to manage the team properly. This involves understanding of how to construct a team and how it is likely to behave. People in every workplace talk about building the team and working as a team, but only a few understand how to create the experience of teamwork or how to develop an effective team. In a team-oriented environment, one contributes to the overall success of the organization.

The three elements that are needed for the evolution of the team are cooperation, trust and cohesiveness. Each of these three elements make a significant contribution towards effective teamwork.

Cooperation is an important element of teamwork. The individuals in a team are said to be cooperating when their approach to work is integrated to achieve a common goal together. If the members of the team are not integrated with each other, cooperation is less and achieving a collective objective is very difficult. One important reason of lack of cooperation within a team is competition among the members of the team. If unhealthy competition between the members of the team is encouraged, it leads to less cooperation leading to less productivity and achievement.

Trust is the second element of teamwork. It is a key element involved in the evolution of the team. It is a mutual faith and confidence in intention and behavior amongst all the members of the team. Fernando Bartolome, a management professor and consultant, offers six guidelines for building and maintaining trust. These are communication, support, respect, fairness, predictability, and competence. It is necessary that these guidelines are present amongst the team members. If this is possible, trust increases over time and team gets stronger.

The third element needed for the evolution of the team is cohesiveness. Cohesiveness is the sense of togetherness between the members of the team. When the team members enjoy each other and are emotionally satisfied with their participation, it is called socio-emotional cohesiveness. On the other hand, when the team members know that they need each other to reach the common goal and that they are dependent on each other, it is called instrumental cohesiveness. Cohesiveness helps bind the team together.

There are some common management mistakes that can lead to team failure. Teams that fail are built on weak strategies and poor business practices. There can be times when vague or conflicting assignments are given to the team. In those cases where vague assignments are given to the team, there are no clear goals set up for the employees. As a result, the employees have little or no motivation towards work. It is best to set up goals for the employees and keep them challenged. The management should be working with them to achieve these goals. Also, sometimes the management fixes the problem temporarily and ignores the long-term commitment. This can lead to the failure of the work team. The manager might like to fix the problem quickly, but at the same time neglect the long term solution to the problem. After finding the cause to the problem, the management must develop real solutions that have lasting effects. Poor staffing of teams by the management is another mistake. The manager must know what the members of the team can accomplish. The manager must also make sure that the members of the team are skilled and have the appropriate training required for the job to be done.

When the team is set up in a hostile environment, it is sure that the team will fail. Hostile environment crops up when there is management resistant. The management should be positive and forward-looking. Resisting or trying to stop a change doesn’t help. The management must anticipate the changes that are coming and make plans to take care of them before they affect the organization. Hostile environment within a team is also set up if the management follows a strict command and control culture. Also, employee achievement should be recognized. It provides encouragement to the employees and it helps to improve their morale, performance and loyalty. But, competitive or individual reward plans will provide a negative influence on the members of the team and will contribute to team failure.

Lack of trust between the management and the team members will also lead to failure of the team. The manager needs to believe that his employees have the skills to manage the project. The manager should lead them in the appropriate leadership style and arouse the desired employee behavior. This will definitely lead to success. On the other hand, the team members should trust their manager for having the wisdom to make sound business decisions.

There are some problems of team members that lead to team failure. Poor interpersonal skills like lack of communication between team members. Doing anything in the team involves communication. If this is missing, team failure is on the way. Conflicts between the team members and unhealthy competition also result in team failure. Ego hassles can create conflicts and power struggles within a team. When ego comes in play, team members do not focus on the joint responsibility they have as a team. Therefore the work begins to suffer.

When the team members try to achieve more in shorter time span, and try to get fast results, probability of failure is more. In some such cases, there is too much emphasis given on results rather than the group dynamics and the skills used for the work. On the other hand, the team should plan its goals and activities keeping in mind time constraints and deadlines.

When the roles of the members of the team are not clearly defined, it leads to conflict among the team members. Team failure can also result when there are differences in work styles. Team members are resistant to other members working differently. They do not accept others ideas and the way they work.

Problems between team members can also arise due to some unforeseen obstacles and uncertainties in market conditions. Sometimes companies might run into problems due to strategic reasons. Also if the team is too much internalized and do not have enough exposure to external influences.

Lack of trust among the team members can lead to team failure. One example of distrust is lack of confidence in the team member’s ability and quality of work. In such cases of distrust, the team members are suspicious of each other’s motives and the element of cohesiveness is also missing in the team’s approach.

Eric Sundstrom and his colleagues sorted out work teams into 4 types. These were advice, production, project and action teams.

Advice teams are those that help in managerial decisions and give suggestions for quality improvement and production. These teams have both low degree of technical specialization and low degree of coordination with other work units.

Production teams are those that execute day-to-day operations. Their degree of technical specialization is low but the degree of coordination with other work units is high because they are related to each other.

Project teams are those, which are required to provide creative problem solving. Their degree of technical specialization is high as it involves the application of this specialized knowledge. Degree of coordination can be low or high. There can be low coordination in cases of independent units and high coordination in cases of cross-functional units.

Action teams are those, which are required to show peak performance when needed. These teams have both high degree of technical specialization and high degree of coordination with other work units.

The aim of any team building should be giving rise to the high-performance team. This can be achieved by following the attributes of the high-performance team i.e. participative leadership, shared responsibility, excellent communication, team focused on tasks, talents and creativity applied, a rapid response, willing to accept change with an opportunity to grow and keeping the team members aligned on a common purpose.