What are "teams"?

Teams Jul 9, 2021

There is a lot of talk about "teams" in the context of software development and creative work that is being done in organizations. But, what is a team?

A "Team" is a collective set of people who work together towards meeting a common goal.

The following examples do not constitute a "team":

  • No, not several members who report to a manager in a hierarchy does not constitute a "team".
  • If they are doing individual work it does not constitute a team.
  • If they do collective work, where work passes from one to another with a handoff, it does not constitute a team. In this case a particular individual is not responsible for the overall common goal.
  • Many so-called "teams" are just groups of people or "workgroups".
  • Many "sales teams" are not teams, they are just a collection of people who all have individual targets and goals.

Here are some characteristics of what a "team" is:

  • A collection of people who are working towards a common "goal"
  • The "goal" is shared, not individualistic
  • Generally, two people don't make a team. They are a pair. If you want more active dialogue, you would have a minimum of three constituting a team, so that there is a tie-breaker to force conversations and decisions to some conclusion.
  • The team members should be able to decide on how the work is done to meet such a "common" or shared goal
  • There work they do needs to be interdependent on the team members to complete.
  • The team members should have collective responsibility for the "goal"
  • The team members should be able to figure out "how" they will meet the goal - and decide on tools, techniques, approaches in meeting the goal
  • The team members collectively have the ability to exhibit leadership qualities in order to meet the goal. Different members of the team can step up and use their leadership traits in order to meet the "team" goals
  • The "team" is responsible for managing the interactions outside the "team" in order to do the work required to meet the "goal"


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