Team Coordination

Coordination Models

  • Service provider. A team has a valuable skill or service they provide to other teams (and those other teams depend on them to succeed).
  • Consultant: A consultant is available to help guide other teams to make better decisions or learn faster. They are never a hard dependency for other teams’ work.
  • Self-service. A team offers its work product without requiring other teams to collaborate with them.
  • Independent executor. A team produces customer value without collaboration with other teams. They may make requests of other teams, but they don’t rely on those requests being completed.
  • Liaison. An individual serves as a communication channel with a team or group of teams.
  • Embedded. An individual has a source team, but spends the majority of their time working in another team and is treated like a part of that team. A variation of this is when the individual is associated with multiple teams or an organization, and they do work for those teams, or move between them.
  • Single-threaded-owner. A team where all the cross-functional contributors (most commonly engineering, product, and design) all report to the same manager.
  • Rotation: A variation on the Liasion model, where a person from a team (or set of teams) takes on a role for a defined period of time.
  • Centralized liaison - A variation of the Liaison model, where you have representatives from a number of teams form a working group.
  • Merged group — early draft (aka DevOps pattern). Two groups that previously passed work between each other are merged.
  • Task force - Temporarily create a merged team that focuses on a particular outcome, maximizing short-term collaboration.
  • Away team - Part or all of a team does work in another team’s area. Lasts for the duration of a project.
  • Tiger team: A long-lived team that does work in other team’s territories (and that’s how they are defined, as a boundary-less team).
  • Objective expert. An expert or group of experts produce measurements or reports that help visualize problems, to drive behavioral changes.
  • Work demander — early draft. A team demands work of other teams, and they have to do the work.
  • Cousin team — early draft. Change the management hierarchy so teams that need to collaborate have the same Director.
  • Community of practice Support specialists across cross-functional teams by creating a group that shares information and practices, and often defines standards.