Finding Your Team’s Purpose

When was the last time you asked your Team Lead, Manager, Director what the purpose of your team is?

What your end goal is? 

What’s your raison d’etre? 

It’s a hard question to ask (because it assumes someone doesn’t know) but it should be a simple question to answer.

“We are building X for our customers”

“We deliver X for the company”

“We are focused on”

“Our goal is to help our organization identify our next priorities…”

Any of the above answers are a great start because they establish the one thing that every team needs to survive.

A Direction. 

Without a Direction, how do you know where you are going, why you are going there, and what you are going to do when you get there?

How often have you’ve been part of a team that was building a product that they didn’t know if the customer wanted?

Or didn’t know when they were delivering it?

Or didn’t know who was going to use it when it goes live?

A team without purpose is a team that will never deliver.

If you’re the Developer on a team where no purpose exists here are some things you can do to help figure it out;

  • Look at what you are doing, write it down – gather the data, draw the lines
  • Look outside your work, what are other people on your team doing?
  • What are your customers asking for?  Does it jive with what you are working on?

From there, you can be the one to start the conversation with your Manager.  Maybe they’ve been around for “so long” that they’ve always assumed what they are doing is their purpose, maybe they need a kick from you to really uncover what it is, or what they should be doing.

If you’re the Manager that is recognizing that your team’s purpose is lacking.

  • Look at all that you are delivering on your team.
  • Is this what you think they should be doing?
  • Is this what you want them to be doing?
  • It’s up to you now, establish their purpose, set their goals, get the team involved, have them own a part of it.

You can drive each approach, no one is saying no to you.

Many times, your team will not have a purpose, it will be an assumed function, a function that could be completely wrong and inherited from years of “okay, sounds good, we’re on it”.

You’re not there to keep the cycle running, you’re there to break it and implement the change necessary to turn your team around.

In both cases, whether you’re the developer or the manager, you don’t need to ask to find you’re purpose, but you do need to want to know the answer.

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