Team Life Cycle

Posted 1 year, 2 months ago | Originally written on 25 Jan 2023

Teams are social structures that like any other experience various stages of being. Just as we are born, go through various stages of development into adulthood, mature in our contribution to the world then eventually retire and die, so do teams and the tasks they go through. If teams perpetually live in a fixed stage, never growing, never maturing, then the members of the team encounter pains which eventually disrupt the operations of the team. Growth of the members is perhaps the biggest contributor towards affecting the relationships between team members as the team goes through various stages. For team members to be stuck in their level of responsibility towards the team regardless of how much growth they have encountered results in boredom and frustration.

But on a larger scale, teams need to confront the future in distinct stages that mirror the birth-to-death process of individuals. Perhaps the best way to accomplish this is through projects. Projects have a distinct beginning and end. While the whole team may not be involved right from the beginning, a time boundary is set at which activities towards that project commence. Gradually, as required, team members may be roped in as the project advances and as the realisation of the stakes stack up. In the event that the project is summarily cut off, such as if a company goes bust, it will still be necessary for the team members to go through a 'grieving' period, in which they can mark some end and move on with their lives. It is through clearly defined projects that people can meaningfully cooperate and creating helpful bonds, otherwise despite working in the same company, they can perennially remain strangers even if they sit a few feet from each other for years.

Therefore, for a team to operate without an activity structure such as a project or campaign deprives them of a helpful birth-death process. It not only works as an operational tool but is invaluable in managing mental load and social cohesion.

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