Team velocity  – the entry points
Teams are for the members what are highways for the cars. It makes no sense to have highways unless there are cars to use it. There are different types of cars, different age and different journeys to take on the highway. There are as well different types of human beings, with different skills and interests, they have a huge range of interests and career perspectives.
I am speaking now about entry points and exit points. When designing a team, a manager should consider, besides others, two main aspects : how to integrate a new team member and how to cope with the leave of an experienced one. This things are critical in order to cope well with the change.
I will call entry points the way a new team member is introduced in the team. There are a few things to consider in order to enable the team member to act.
First, you need to choose a profile compatible with the values of the team. A little chemistry has to exist in order to have good start. Team members have to share the values and, ideally, to find common interests. The professional interactions are easier when people like each other, discuss about subject they are interested outside of business hours. Sharing same values makes less probable to have conflicts based on principles and the organizational culture is better adopted.
Having compatibility ensured, the manager should take care that the introduction is as smooth and fast as possible. The initial training phase has to be careful planned, disseminating the right amount of information, in a professional manner. No matter the seniority, there are information that has to be digested, methods to be adopted. Also, there is a good practice to increase gradually the complexity of the tasks. Assigning very complex tasks, from day 1, makes the saying “swim or die” really concrete and one might loose valuable team members that simply don’t cope well with such environment. People do need success stories to be motivated and enjoy their time when do not need to overcome an initial failure.
Smooth interactions between team members improve performance. This is another important topic to consider when introducing a new team member. You should facilitate interactions: organize team meetings, some lunch or dinner together. Moderate dialogues, be there for the newbies and your effort will be rewarded soon.
Last , but not least, keep things in order. Good habits are to be shared. Information is replicable by anyone in the team and discipline is a value that should be shared by every team.
A good entry point on the highway ensures that you can speed up without other constraint than the power of the engine. A good entry point in a team ensures that each team member can live his career up to his maximum potential.