Teamwork by Design

The other day, @ddgenome described architecting applications for the cloud. One of the tenets was: security by design.

The top rectangle represents the old model: security by assumption. Depend on the firewall, the same security for every application component. The lower rectangle represents security by design: each component is a responsible adult, and makes appropriate checks.

When I worked on a remote team, we had great teamwork. That happened because we worked at it; we made choices, observed, adjusted. We made efforts to all pair with each other. We watched the team composition and adjusted so that everyone felt a sense of belonging. We made a specific time during the day for informal communication. We posted items of interest in a public forum. This was teamwork by design.

In contrast, most co-located teams I’ve worked on relied on Teamwork by Assumption. We’re under the same manager, we stand in a circle and recite our accomplishments each day, we’re in the same pod, we must be a team right?

Meh. I’ll take Teamwork by Design any day! Nothing stops us from applying the same deliberate work to co-located teams… nothing but laziness. I don’t want to rely on physical proximity to give the appearance of teamwork. Perhaps, by placing the responsibility clearly on our choices, remote work promotes stronger teams.