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When a group has team-spirit, it is a team, otherwise it is simply a group of people. Or something like this is often heard. Maybe it is true.

Teams can be established for various purposes and they can consist of various types of people.

I have some opinions on typifying people, but more on that later. For now, let’s just assume that people are different. And they are, of course! We can see and hear that when we speak to them – or? Well, yes, we can. But it is we who can see these differences. Others can see their set of differences, which does not have to be the same as ours. Så maybe the observer has an influence on the observed? And maybe both they and we behave differently towards different people? So maybe their “type” isn’t really their type but a kind of accommodation between these specific people in that specific situation?

In any case, there are some factual differences: one speaks French, another doesn’t. One knows how to manage a project using PRINCE2, another knows PMBoK and a third knows only common sense. One has 20 years of experience, another has two. One is old, another young – I’m sure you get the picture.

When you have the chance of establishing af team – by grouping together selected people, you may wish to make it a good team. And therefore you choose 10 C# programmers with each five years of experience from the same type of application in the same type of company. They have similar educations, age and personal interests. And then you have a dream team, right?

Wrong! They will fight each other, as each of them sees everyone else as a competitor, and they will be without help if they run into a problem they have no experience with – because the others do not have that experience either. They all prefer not to write documentation, they all consider themselves to be the main expert in one (the same) particular detail of C# and the application area. And so on.

Such a team will not function very well. If it produces good results it will be solely because the team in reality split up and produce what 10 individuals can produce without help. At most.

But if you instead make sure to mix people with different skill sets, different backgrounds, different age etc., you will see a completely different  situation: they will cooperate! Because they have to – what one doesn’t know anything about, the other has done for the last 10 years. What one doesn’t want to do, the other would love to get into. What one just learned at college, the other can listen to and learn from. Then you have a chance to build a dream team – a team where they all help each other because they both respect and need each other.

If you wish, you can “team build” them together using Belbin tests etc., but it really isn’t necessary if only you have mixed them well.

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