This article will provide a definition of teamwork and offer a guide on how to achieve a successful software team merger while dealing with the issues that surface during the process. I will discuss a view of teamwork and team merging from a quality assurance (QA) perspective and share my experience of how my team has handled both.
Definition of Teamwork
From my experience in software creation, teamwork involves a group of developers and QA engineers working together to deliver a product or service to a client within a timeframe.
I have been through two team mergers in the last five months, with people leaving and joining the group. I will provide details of what we experienced at each stage of the Team Merger Cycle.
Team Merger Cycle
Teams merge due to different reasons, or new groups form at the beginning of a project. Whatever the reason, crews working on software projects are constantly changing, and a merger’s success will depend on all members. The merger cycle begins with a team’s Formation, then goes into Storming, Norming, Performing and Adjourning. This cycle repeats every time a new group forms or teams merge. For example, a team can be in the Performing phase when a merger with another team occurs - or people leave the group and new members arrive - which will trigger the beginning of the Formation stage.
Team members get to know each other during this initial phase. Then, in my experience, we proceeded to answer each other’s questions and assisted anyone who needed help.
This next stage is when issues start to surface since when teams merge, each team usually has differing ideas for getting the work done. For example, team members may disagree on product development or ticket testing. In my team’s case, the developers’ workflow was utterly different from QA’s, and it was necessary to reconcile the two.
Therefore, we held a meeting to discuss which part of each workflow was the most useful for the group and created a new development and QA workflow. Nonetheless, we disagreed on other topics that took a lot of time to solve.
As I see it, this stage is one of the most difficult ones since it can be chaotic. There may be many disagreements, and things may be easier or harder depending on how receptive team members are.
Once we agreed, our team began to apply the new workflow. This led to improvements in our development performance and feature testing. In my view, it is during this phase that the team begins to work as a unit. Even though issues may still surface from time to time, they are not as severe as those discussed in the storming stage.
Performing and Adjourning
I’m afraid our team could not reach these phases: some group members left, and new people joined us; therefore, we had to start over from the Formation stage. If teams keep changing, it will be more challenging to get to the Performing and Adjourning phases. It means you will have to spend time explaining the process to new team members, who will agree or disagree with how the work is done, resulting in a redefinition of the already established process.
Merged Team Goals
My experience made me realize that the goal of a newly merged team is to perform at its best. Therefore, each member should try to understand and support each other and make the PM trust the decisions made by the group as a unit so that it can become a self-managed team.
When merging a new team, you will encounter a lot of issues. I experienced the following with my team:
- People will agree and disagree with your opinion and ideas.
- Each person will have a specific way of working.
- Each person will have their particular workflow for development and QA.
- Each person will reject the workflow of the other members.
- You will have too many defined processes, and you won't know which one to follow.
Most of the time, team mergers can be challenging. But if the group has a good leader who can help guide the team and everyone wants to improve their work as a unit, then teamwork can be strengthened, and members can understand each other to improve performance.
- In software creation, teamwork involves a group of developers and QA engineers working together to deliver a product or service to a client within a timeframe.
- Teams merge due to different reasons, or new groups form at the beginning of a project. Whatever the reason, crews working on software projects are constantly changing, and a merger’s success will depend on all members.
- The Team Merger Cycle consists of the following stages: Formation, Storming, Norming, Performing, and Adjourning.
- Team mergers can be challenging; their success will depend on the group’s leader and on members’ desire to improve their work as a unit.
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