Unstructured teams

In her classic article The Tyranny of Structurelessness, about the women’s liberation movement and every group people ever, Joreen describes the magic self-organized, effective team:

“working in this kind of group is a very heady experience; it is also rare and very hard to replicate.”

Why yes, yes it is. When companies manage to build a cohesive team, they should value it. Because companies aren’t made of business plans; they’re made of people. Great products come from teams like this:

1) "It is task oriented. …The task determines what needs to be done and when it needs to be done.“ (on a wall with post-its!)

2) It has a common language for interaction. The easy way to achieve this is homogeneity. If you also want diversity, then we need "everyone [to know] everyone else well enough to understand the nuances.”

3) There is a high degree of communication. Information flows between all members of the group. “This is only possible if the group is small and people practically live together for the most crucial phases of the task.”

4) “There is a low degree of skill specialization. Not everyone has to be able to do everything, but everything must be able to be done by more than one person.”

Sounds a lot like an agile team! These unstructured, close-knit and collectively-motivated teams are just what we’re aiming for. Joreen documented these back in 1970, and now software gives us the field to attempt to replicate this.