Team Charter for better Experience

Acknowledgements: Special thanks to Cuc, Thao and Quynh for the great work to deliver our version 1.0. I’m lucky to have you as my colleagues.

Team Charter

So, you’ve gathered a team of unusual suspects and diverse characters. How will you agree on your goals, expectations, and values? And how will you deal with challenging situations? Design a team charter together to avoid unnecessary counter productivity or unwanted surprises. And basically it is good to know who you are travelling with! The Team Charter Canvas was created by the Design A Better Business Team based on ideas developed at CCA.

Working in teams can be fantastic — if team members work well together. However, if people are pulling in different directions, the experience can be awful. What’s worse is that, without sufficient direction, teams can focus on the wrong objectives, can fail to use important resources, can be torn apart by avoidable infighting, and can fail, with sometimes dire consequences for the organization.

Team Charters are documents that define the purpose of the team, how it will work, and what the expected outcomes are. They are “roadmaps” that the team and its sponsors create at the beginning of the journey to make sure that all involved are clear about where they’re heading, and to give direction when times get tough.

For teams to get off “on the right foot,” Team Charters should be drawn up when the team is formed. This helps to make sure that everyone is focused on the right things from the start. However, drawing up a team charter can also be useful if a team is in trouble and people need to regain their view of the “big picture.” The precise format of team charters varies from situation to situation and from team to team. And while the actual charter can take on many forms, much of the value of the Charter comes from thinking through and agreeing the various elements.

This is our version 1.0 of Technology tribe of Techcombank, due to some competition and internal policies, I need to black out few areas.

We used all type of techniques like card sorting, dotted prioritization and etc.

Values

We have listed the values and we have prioritized them (#1 is higher priority than #4 and etc) in times of conflicting values then higher priority ones are the matter. We also limited our number of values to 5 so we can start practicing it on daily basis. We kept our values are quite simple format like Dos and Don’ts like the image below.

Know-Hows

We are also building several of Know-Hows which is going to help team on knowing what is our methodology and our standard expectations in various topics like taking leave, running a meeting, 1:1 coaching or simple things like ice-breaker activities. In below, I share two of these activities which were adopted from Atlassian and Hyper Island.

Icebreaker Activities (adopted from Atlassian)

SUPER QUICK ICEBREAKER QUESTIONS

Got a minute or two while people trickle into the meeting? Toss out a question and have a bit of fun.

QUESTIONS WITH PURPOSE

What will be the title of your autobiography?

  • Theme: Summarizing complex events or concepts
  • Purpose: Prepare for activities like crafting a vision statement.

What is your superhero name?

  • Theme: Naming stuff is hard!
  • Purpose: Practice packing a lot of info into a single, evocative word or phrase.

Who was your first mentor, and what qualities made them a good (or lousy) one?

  • Theme: Teamwork and support is important
  • Purpose: Reinforce the idea that relying on each other is a part of growth — good for projects or teams with lots of dependencies.

When did you call customer service to complain?

  • Theme: Empathizing with customers
  • Purpose: Remembering what it feels like to be on the customer side of a bad product or service puts us in a compassionate frame of mind before discussing trade-offs or designing a new user experience.

What is one thing you learned from a project that went wrong?

  • Theme: Failures are learning opportunities
  • Purpose: Focus on risk identification and mitigation.

“JUST FOR FUN” QUESTIONS

Print and assemble one of our icebreaker dice for a little extra fun, or just choose one of the questions below.

  • What animal would you choose to be, and why?
  • What is the last dream you remember?
  • How do you let teammates know you’re in deep work mode?
  • Where would you vacation if money were no object?
  • Books, magazines, or podcasts?
  • What car did you learn to drive on?
  • What is one thing you’re grateful for today?
  • When you read or watch TV, do you go for fiction or non-fiction?
  • Coffee, tea, or soda?
  • Can you remember a bumper sticker that made you smile?

FILL IN THE BLANKS

I have never ________________.

My friends love me for my ________________.

If my pet could talk, it would say ________________.

One ____________ is better than ten ________________.

Active Listening (adopted from Hyper Island)

Purpose

This activity supports participants to reflect on a question and generate their own solutions using simple principles of active listening and peer coaching. It’s an excellent introduction to active listening but can also be used with groups that are already familiar with it. Participants work in groups of three and take turns being: “the subject”, the listener, and the observer.

Step 1:

Do a brief introduction to active listening. Explain that often, when we reflect and discuss, we tend to focus on multiple individuals and questions at once, moving around our attention and focus. Meanwhile, when we listen to others, we tend to do so in a discussion-oriented way, thinking about “what will I say next”, rather than listening to the other with full presence and attention. One powerful way to explore a question or a problem is to use active listening with focus on one person at a time. For this exercise, this is what we will do.

Optionally, make a list together with the group of “What makes good active listening?” Invite people to spontaneously offer answers and write them on a flipchart.

Step 2:

Using a flipchart, Introduce the three roles that individuals will take on during the exercise.

The subject:

The subject’s role is to explore the question or problem from his/her personal perspective. The person in this role should keep in mind: allow the focus to be on you, and let your reflection flow naturally, being guided by the active listener.

The active listener:

The active listener’s role is to listen will full presence and focus. To listen with the whole body, to be curious, observe, paraphrase what he/she hears and guide the subject with open questions. This person should keep in mind: ask open questions to support the subject’s reflection; do not offer advice; listen with the whole body.

The observer:

The observer’s role is to observe the process without speaking. To make observations from an outside perspective, to see and hear things that the listener and subject may not. This person should keep in mind: stay silent throughout the process; observe and make notes about what you see and hear; after the subject finishes, share the observations with the others.

Step 3:

Set up the question or problem. The question or problem is what each subject will explore and reflect upon. It could be a common question for the whole group (e.g. “What are the biggest barriers to change in my work and how can I work to overcome them?”) or each subject can set his or her own question or problem (e.g. Choose a challenge in the workplace that you are struggling with currently.) Ensure that all participants understand what they should explore and reflect upon.

Step 4:

Have participants organize into groups of three. Make it clear that each participant should have each role for a set amount of time. Give groups one hour or more so that each round can last 20 minutes. Explain that groups should pay attention to the time and make sure that there are three equal rounds.

Step 5:

Once participants have finished, debrief the exercise, using questions like:

– What happened for me during the exercise?

– How did it feel to be the observer?

– How did it feel to be the subject?

– How did it feel to be the active listener?

– What did I learn about myself?

– How can I apply insights from this exercise?

Individual Charter

We’re also extending this to an individual levels with some modification in template and also few things need to follow team charter such as values, know-hows and roles & responsibilities. The image below is my own personal charter. We make all these charters publicly available for everyone to read and comment.

Related Articles

I’ve been very obsessed with “experience” and written series of post which I think might be good to read them (or you can skip them) as listed in below:

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Scaling Up, Growth and Digital Transformation guy.

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