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Trello’s Four Stages of Team Productivity; Don’t Forget the Curator
Trello’s Leah Ryder recently blogged about that old and reliable observation about the four stages of team dynamics (Forming – Storming – Norming – Performing). We asked ourselves how this relates to the Trello cardwall and found a critical ingredient: the curator.
(Note: It’s actually a refresh of a 2017 blog. Also, if memory serves, the fourth stage was originally called “Re-forming” but I doubt that matters for today’s conversation.)
We asked some of the more junior IT people we know and found that Ms. Ryder’s blog offers a useful and fresh perspective since the underlying model has faded from our heavily bombarded conscious. It could even be said that the rate of change has diluted the sense of team for many younger IT workers.
In short, Trello proposes that we keep our team’s work “transparent and dreamy” as the teams go through the inevitable cycle described by Dr. Bruce Tuckman all those decades ago. Ryder proposes that you discuss the Tuckman “Four Stages” model in your next team meeting.
We see a lot of teams and projects in trouble, begging for recovery actions to get back on track. It’s fair to assume that team dysfunction is often involved in these troubled projects as they fall away from the progress needed for success.
What we see virtually every time is an un-maintained project work list. For traditional projects, we can point at the project manager and ask, “Where is your current Gantt chart?” or some such expression of planning. However, Trello users can’t point so easily since the burn-down-burn-up-cardwall-Agile type teams pride themselves on their non-hierarchical flatness.
So, if we can inject another tired model into the message: Don’t forget the content curator. When your team starts to fail, perhaps going through the Storming phase, the cardwall tends to go un-managed. Make sure that the cardwall content has an owner, a curator, who is personally responsible for the currency and validity of the content.
And remember, two curators equals zero curators. Put the content ball in one person’s hand to make it clear when it hasn’t been dropped.
Source: Trello at SoftwareReviews, Accessed Nov. 5, 2019
Cardwalls are simple and useful work management concepts that have taken over from the old idea of a task list. However, the cardwalls go un-managed when stormy times hit the team. To keep the cardwall useful, identify a content curator, a named individual who is personally and solely responsible for the keeping the cardwall current and valid.
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