“There is no team without the individual members; an individual can never be a team.” – Michael Joling
I overheard one of my teammates make the comment, “It takes a whole village to keep this system going.” She was referring to the teamwork required to handle and resolve system issues quickly. It made me think about the great teams that I had the privilege to work with during my extensive career. In the systems world, many times, great teamwork occurs behind a curtain. Our business users realize that problems were resolved, new functionality was implemented and the system functions as it should. They may not be aware of nightly system calls, issues addressed before they became a problem or the countless hours it takes to implement a new system. That is the way it should be. Great minds working together, trying to find a solution to complex issues is a frequent occurrence. It takes each individual on the team doing his or her part to get the job done.
There are many types of teams: systems team, sales team, marketing team, defense team, etc.
What is common among them is they all function as a well-oiled machine; working together to create, labor, produce and serve. However, just as machine parts have a tendency to rub against each other causing friction but continue to work, so do great teams. Teams consist of people with diverse personalities and abilities. Disagreements, varying points of view, and misunderstandings are common. This is what makes a great team thrive. There are times when some team members have to pitch in and help another in order to continue moving forward. Great teams will work through the complications of a project and team dynamics to get the job done!
Teamwork is even more complex with virtual teams that have to function across cities and continents to complete a project.
Global team members, offshore team extensions and team members working from home are commonplace. Communication is crucial for the new age virtual team. Therefore, the effective use of technology to communicate is very important. Likewise, understanding and respecting cultural differences is essential to the communication process.
I must admit while attending graduate school, I did not particularly like team projects.
Having to coordinate the efforts of multiple people in order to finish a project on time was more than a notion. Of course, I understood the purpose of these types of projects. I just did what I had to do. Every now and then, an instructor would allow us to have a “team of one” for the project. Many times, some of us felt that it would be more productive to just do it ourselves and forsake having a team. Giving into this temptation may have hindered our development. Doing the work by ourselves meant that we had no accountability to anyone, no opportunity to share thoughts and ideas, and the only perspective we had was our own. Hence, a one-person team is not really a team.
So, let us celebrate our team!
We have endured intensive debates, dealt with frustrations, and experienced long hours. We also exchanged ideas, created lasting friendships, joked and laughed. Through it all, we managed to accomplish many great things!