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Minnebar: Small Teams, Big Results Session

Minnebar: Small Teams, Big Results Session


Sitting here at Minnebar in the session on “Small Teams, Big Results” along with the guys from August Ash, Inc., a web design firm here in Minneapolis.

The session is being led by Ben Edwards of Refractr. Ben happens to also be the co-organizer of Minnebar.

Ben’s key point here is that small teams can be as highly effective as large teams – and often without alot of the administrative overhead that large organizations bring with them. Being small allows many teams to simply “be nimble” – able to move with extreme agility as needed.

Should development teams be co-located with the business teams in larger organizations? Ben recommends that even if you can’t co-locate then try to find ways to incorporate the teams together through effective meetings… not just meetings to have meetings.

Small teams often have more accountability – “one’s ass can really be on the line”.

Many references made to later session on Distributed Teams which I’ll also be liveblogging this afternoon.

Audience is now stepping up and participating…

“Small Teams need smart generalists” that are good at a number of things – agile, self-curious, self-driven are all attributes that will be critical for success in this environment.

“Hire passionate and curious creators” – people who do creative things… and do so with passion.

Book references – “The World is Flat” by Thomas Friedman.. “A Whole New Mind” by Daniel Pink – both excellent books.

“Ensure that team members can manage themselves…”

“Fire prima donnas and complainers” – great advice – the highest maintenance bloggers that I’ve had on small teams have been poisonous – I was happy when they chose to move on…

Asking audience for thoughts now… on how to build small teams

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“Look for people that dabble in alot of different areas…” – look for who is building something and are naturally curious..

“Most business side folks don’t understand the soft fuzzy side of software project management estimation…”

Lots of discussion around firing prima donnas – some are saying they’re the best people on the team – others saying that they are poison…

“don’t overdo your processes” – empower your team to make decisions.. i.e. “empower or take power”

“do, don’t document”

“use unobtrusive tools” – best question so far today “Has anyone found an actual job for Microsoft Project?” hahaha… I am personally not a fan of MS Project – simple tools like BaseCamp is much easier to use..

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