Allow a team to determine, openly discuss and share their team values
By setting team values together, team members are able to understand what is important to their colleagues and what behaviors are expected day to day. It can help fast forward the early stages of team formation (Forming, Storming, Norming, and Performing) and provide a baseline for feedback.
Although this activity can be done as early as when a project and/or consulting engagement kicks off, the first day of product development (after a D&F is wrapping up) typically works best. The key is to have the full core team present. Sometimes that isn’t possible until development kicks off.
Write the following prompts on the whiteboard:
Set a timer for 6 minutes and have the team silently generate value statements using the prompts on the board. Each value statement should be on its own sticky note.
Tip: You can play some light background music (ideally instrumental) to help relax the atmosphere during generation
Go around the room individually and ask each team member to share a value statement and their thinking behind it (especially if it’s not obvious). Collect any similar value statements from other team members and place the groups/themes in rows on the whiteboard
Repeat until all sticky notes have been shared and are grouped on the whiteboard
Thank the team for the great content and explain that they will be typed up and summarized. Take a picture of the output.
You know you’re done when you’ve created a set of agreed on team values that can be put up in the team area and referred to during the project and/or consulting engagement.
Every member of the “core” team should be involved in this activity. A helpful way to think about the “core” team is it’s the folks who will be working full time together, ideally co-located, for the lifecycle of the project and/or consulting engagement.
These team values can be leveraged again at the end of the project and/or consulting engagement if you decide to do a How We Work transition activity. This will allow the team to adjust their values and identify aligned practices they’ve done during the engagement to keep doing after they return home.