This article was written as an individual review assignment of PPL CSUI 2021

Have you ever wondered why most companies invest so much time, effort, and resources when it comes to hiring new workers to the company? If you do then perhaps you may have thought that they want to try their best to assemble a group of remarkable people with knowledge and expertise to do good works for the company. If so, then your thought is right.

Before hiring an individual to a company, the company would want to get to know the strengths and personalities of that individual to make sure that if their character is suitable for the existing team members in the company. This hiring process is crucial for the company because believe it or not, a single individual with an unsuitable character for a team may influence the team’s performance and behavior. And the psychological forces that are influencing the team’s performance and behavior are what is called team dynamics.

In this article, I will be talking about what team dynamics are and how to improve them.

About team dynamics

A team can be considered as a group of people that are working together to meet a specific goal or purpose. Team dynamics, however, are the unconscious, psychological factors that influence how team members behave and how they interact within the team. Since team dynamics involve the psychology of the team members to interact with one another, understanding a team’s dynamics may tell you about how successful the team can become.

With positive team dynamics, the team members of that team tend to trust one another. They can work well together towards decisions and can be held accountable for any outcomes that they cause. A team with good team dynamics also tends to be more constructive, productive, understanding, and self-correcting.

On the other hand, a team with horrible team dynamics tends to be disruptive, which leads to unsuccessful decision-making and work outcomes. In contrast with a team with positive team dynamics that are more likely to be understanding, a team with poor dynamics is more vulnerable to conflicts.

In a workplace environment, there certainly may be times when our team’s dynamics aren’t just at the best state. When such cases happen, how can we improve our team dynamics?

How to improve team dynamics

Try to do better communicating often and consistently. If we really think about it, communicating better with the team isn’t that hard. We just tend to forget about it due to how busy we are (unless you’re just purely ignorant, of course). Another behavior that we may tend to do that worsens a team’s communication, is making a lot of assumptions. For example, not telling your team member a crucial task that they have to do because you assume that they probably already know to do that. That is dangerous. Miscommunication is like the mother of all frustrations for a team. So make sure to communicate!

When we see a team member doing unhelpful behavior or any kind of problematic behavior, address it quickly and speak to them directly. Tell them to reflect on their behavior, how it may affect the team, and how to change it so that their behavior can support the team’s goals. Conflicts are bound to happen from time to time, even in the best of teams, so we must practice open discussions to solve conflicts in our team and help each other out to find conflict resolutions and restore the positive state of our team’s dynamics!

When starting a project, we often forget to write all the objectives, tactics, and workflows. This may cause ambiguity. To maintain positive team dynamics, we must try our best to avoid ambiguities that may lead to conflict in the future. Thus, we must practice documenting any plans and all their moving parts. Such documents must be accessible to all of the team members and must be open to feedback, questions, and suggestions from every one of the team members. This may seem simple but it may drastically improve our team’s dynamics.

Collective decisions are a part of what makes the team dynamics, and so, there must be some kind of a general agreement in the team that decides how decisions are made to move forward. Our team shouldn’t have to follow a process where leaders have to when it comes to deciding decisions. If they do, then your team dynamics might not work out the way we want them to. So have discussions with your team and decide what is the best way to make decisions!

Supportiveness is a team’s feature that differs a good team from a great team. As a team, we must strive to deliberately build a supportive team culture if we want positive team dynamics. We must create a workplace for our team that supports each others’ well-being, success, and enthusiasm for work.

Team Dynamics in the PPL 2021 Group Project

In this year’s PPL, I am working with 4 of my friends that may not have the best team dynamics, but we have so far managed to maintain our dynamics the best way we can.

Here the team dynamics speculations that I’ve made for my team:

  1. Although my team is very communicative, miscommunications do happen from time to time.
  2. And although I think my team needs to work on how they openly address problematic behaviors to further improve our team dynamics, we are pretty honest to one another when it comes to coding reviews.
  3. We definitely do write down our tasks to a Gitlab board, but we don’t ever really write out our plans in great detail.
  4. There is no official ‘leader’ in our team, however, we do have our product owner and our clients that decide whatever decisions they need to make, and we may discuss their decisions if there are certain things that seem unsuitable for our team.
  5. And lastly, we support each other for real. For example, if the frontend team needs help, then someone from the backend team would help out the frontend team, and vice versa.

So in short, my team isn’t really perfect in terms of team dynamics. But my team really does try their best to improve them and that is all that matters to me.

That is all from me, friends!

I hope this article may help you out to improve your team’s dynamics!

God bless.

:)

References

Computer Science Undergraduate at University of Indonesia