Lets Play Team

Problem: Schedule pressure overpowers a team.

Context: A tight schedule, uncertainty of design, uneven distribution of skills among developers, and new technologies put a project into jeopardy.TK

Forces: Solution: Pretend to be a team. Present a unified face through a team lead or spokesperson, but otherwise do not collaborate. Ensure every member has something to do, but that knowledge is vertical, with little communication among members. Assume everyone knows what's going on.

Resulting Context: To management, the team is progressing according to schedule. Members appear to be very busy, and milestones like requirements and design reviews are being met. Well, at least some mighty large documents have been produced!

Rationale: Management is not able to compromise on schedule, afford training, or resolve team conflict. The team is on the hot seat to meet the schedule and must preserve that illusion at all costs. Perhaps individual reviews will fall within the project life cycle and no one wants to be identified with failure or delay. Perhaps management's review or bonus is dependent on meeting milestones in a timely manner. The team members may not be on civil speaking terms and interaction is painful and non-productive. There may be hope that either the project will get canceled in nick of time, or that some other effort on which the project depends will be the first to admit delay or failure, thus permitting the team to avoid blame for delay (See ScheduleChicken and LongPoleInTheTent). Any and all of these may justify use of this pattern, and indeed have.

Related Patterns: Author: DonOlson 95/09/14


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