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January 2020
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What is a good team?

Dorien JorissenDorien Jorissen

Team dress-code 🙂

A couple of weeks ago, most members of the ET team showed up in a suit and tie. In this company that’s exceptional, because the common dress-code is casual. But not that day: they made a promise to themselves to dress up, in case the sprint would be successful. Which it was. (In fact, it was kind of a bet with the project manager, who had once said he would like that.)

I laughed out loud when I entered the meeting room and saw them. It was funny, because it was so out of context. At that moment, my first thought was: this is a team where I would – without hesitation – like to be part of, or work for.

Which led me to ask myself: Why?

Why do I think this is a good team? Just because they are funny?

Screen Shot 2016-04-18 at 09.18.11

Is humor all you need in a good team? The answer: yes. And no.

Yes, humor is very very important. It’s a kind of downplay, setting things in a bigger picture. It also makes things acceptable for conversation. In Dutch we say ‘discuss-able’.

No, because it’s not all about humor. There are other aspects:

Mixed population

There is a rather mixed population in this team. Some seniors, some juniors. Some quiet people, some loud. Some leaders, some followers. Some mature, some still growing. Some are testers, some developers, some analysts. But most take different tasks, if needed.


You need maturity. A synonym could be: emotional intelligence. Maturity is often obvious in the topics that are discussed. If you discuss interpersonal relations, behavior, feelings – like they did in their last retrospective – you are rather mature. Not that it’s always necessary, but it’s possible. And you don’t need to be very mature to be good; you only have to be on your way.

Common Goal

It also helps if the team has a common goal. It gives direction and it’s very satisfying if you can see results, build something.

Screen Shot 2016-04-18 at 10.30.32Continuous Improvement

And the final part, the one thing that every team needs: continuous improvement. Always question your team, yourself, your customers, your manager.

Respect them, but challenge them as you challenge yourself. Without this, you get static teams and static teams die.

Of course, there is nothing new about this topic. Just google ‘what makes a good team’ and you’ll find a trillion other articles about this topic. But I don’t care: that day was a good day and I wanted to share that.

Don’t hesitate to comment!

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