One of my favorite exercises to do with a new (in general or new to me) team is to have a team vision session. Generally, I start with laying out what being a team means – A single entity working towards a common goal. I lead a discussion on what high-performing teams “look” like and the characteristics they exhibit. Then, we talk about what each individual has a goal for the team which usually generates some good conversations. From there I move into the team vision exercise.
What do you want this team to be known for? When people outside think about this team, what do you want them to think?
- Have the team divide into two groups
- Give them 5 minutes to work together and think about the answers to the above questions and creating a team vision description
- At the end of 5 minutes, each group presents to the other and the non-presenting group asks questions and calls out what they like about what they’re hearing
- After each group has presented, the full team works to create a joint vision based on the smaller group exercise. They can pull from the discussions we had earlier, the outputs from their sessions and anything else they want to have incorporated. It’s time-boxed to 5 minutes.
At the end, when they’re happy with their vision, we have a conversation about who is accountable to vision and how they will use/incorporate it into their day to day. The final vision is posted in the room. I use this to generate retro topics, re-visit team norms and a whole host of other things. I have found that team members will use it immediately with each other when they’re discussing approaches, establishing their sprint goal and working through conflict.
They created it. They own it. It’s their job to work together and strive towards their vision.
It can be powerful. Let me know if you try it and whether or not it was a good use of time.