Team development for Hackathon Feb 2016

Hey. I changed the title that read “March”. I hope I understood right. We’re talking about February.

I would like to join but won’t afford the whole 2-weeks. I’m still not sure about when to come.
This depends from the planning of the session. On this point I have a proposal to make that emerged as the result of my exchange yesterday with @almereyda.
The proposal: dedicate 2/3 days only to team building. I believe we’ve forgot the most important: being a team. A team that is functioning, where there is trust. When we look at it honestly, we’re all exhausted by the last months of latent conflict/tension. To do that I believe we need help from the outside. I am thinking about a coach that could help us to build connectedness, increase empathy among the team. We need to revive and care for the bond that holds us together.
Budget: We could pay that coach with the budget line that was initially budgeted for me in December and January (total of 600€). Using all of it or less.
Coach: I would have someone who could do it on the weekend. She (because I think a She can already do a lot for us poor miserable men) has experience in coaching and team building. She is energetic and has a lot of empathy. She is not a conflict expert, but she is very open for experimenting. Let me know what you think ASAP please. If weekend doesn’t work we could try to find someone else.

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I think having a team building session with a coach is a very good idea, but I suggest we don’t pack it in these two weeks. We want to work on getting the database ready, start to build the API and spoke about reducing planning, to bring things forward and benefit from @maxlath participation. Concentrating on coding, documenting and getting things we already planned and refined basically done. And while doing it together hopefully contributing to strengthen the team, as well as certainly finding some more aspects to reflect and work, with due preparation, with the coach later on.

Gualter Baptista

I was expecting such an answer. I understand the need to rush. But can one rush with a dysfunctioning team?

My point is not about additional governance/decision-making discussion. Just the human level, connecting the individuals.
So let me further substantiate my point. I think we are deeply mistaken if we think that we can achieve good output, not even to say producing something “alternative” while relying only on the tools of any (poorly staffed) company. In a normal company you (may) compensate the lack of human exchange/empathy/connectedness/reciprocity by good money and perks. In our case that’s not possible - we even have people struggling with ensuring basic livelihoods.

Eventually, if not now, during these two weeks, when then? when we all sit at home? in two months, two months before the end of the project when we are supposed to just rush to deliver?

@alabaeye @gandhiano.

I share the point of Adrien (by the way, could you take that zombies away, freaks me out, currently really sensitive, did not have any tv like thing for 2 months, not missing it)

It is a great idea, and time, that is well spent IMHO. What is really important is, that everyone that participates also sees that benefits, and that the coach is well aware, what she is doing.

I would love to see our team building a paper tower :blush: (no shit, that would be fun : )
@Scrumteam1 + anyone else who you think reasonable to integrate. @maxlath @kei

We went through a lot of sh… togehter already, produced a lot of the same (good one), we got so much in our heads and capacities, throw some at each other from time to time, … we have so much sh… going on… , with that much humus, I wonder what a great team we make! :smiley: yeah (do you get that gettysburg address feeling? : )

I cannot participate, but anyway, I am a m…f… full of sh… and you all know that :sunglasses:
me and @almereyda at the paper tower challenge, that would be fun : )

I continue insisting that:

  1. coaching and team building processes need to be prepared with the due time to identify the concrete problems that are there to solve. It usually also requires (previously prepared) follow-up to have any effect and avoid that actually backlash occurs
  2. the only thing that makes sense to do in the time available and with the composition of team we have (at least one external, while one main internal person not being there) is to work on things we have already collectively decided to do

For the first point, I have to add that I don’t feel willing to take part in a coaching where we don’t have a preparation period with the coach. Not to mention a collective reflection from which we depart and inform the coach of the situation. And please note that I also will already be in a a coaching process on the 6th - being prepared over a month in advance - with follow-up and implementation on the 7th and 8th, so the timing would also be awful for me.

Coming to my understanding - and the push for the proposal of this 2 weeks as work session (point 2): for me, at the moment, the major blockage to team building and a sane work for all is still that we work too little together and there is no communication. That was, in the first place, the idea of rushing into this 2-weeks working session: to get our working plan moving forward and settle on fundamental agreements, such as that of deciding on a geodatabase, so that an API can start being built over it.

And the example of how this proposal comes to exist is for me representative of precisely the lack of a convergence space, practice, working times. As I understand, @alabaeye and @almereyda talked about the issues and came up with this idea, while @species @gandhiano and @josefkreitmayer talked about these same issues (on a standup) and came up with the working session idea.

We have managed to agree on a common working period of 2 weeks. I would not be happy with getting rid of it again now with a last minute proposal to change. This is not just about rushing, it is also about team building, by the action of first coming together and engaging in collaboration.

My proposal is, if you think it’s impossible to sit down and work before a coaching, that we cancel this working session in Witzenhausen and schedule the coaching for the weekend, wherever it costs less. I would be very unhappy (because I spent time discussing about it on the standups and clarifying dates/contracting with @maxlath for it) and very insecure regarding the future of the team and the capacity to comply with CHEST and SSEDAS. Packing it in the middle of it will only lead to frustration and potential emergence of further conflicts, effectively blocking the second week. From my knowledge of our team, I evaluate this risk as being too high, not because we like to fight with each other, but because we suffer from dispersion and lack of focus.

Lets please decide for one or another, but not both.

Great, 2 parts of a team comming up with good ideas, that address different aspects of a challenge. What about combining it in a way, that they blend and enrich each other?

Probably the coaching might be very different to the paper tower team building, but integrated in the process a reflective aspect. Having a reflective aspect on the collaborative working style in the middle of the week would be very helpful IMHO.

@gandhiano, I fully understand the dedication of the work week (which I share) as well as the wish not to get personally overcoached. I think, there is might be some precious quality in social process facilitation from an outside person.

@alabaeye, the coach you are thinking of, what is her skillset for enabling reflective dialogue, and/or taking a step back from the ego and from the current activity to see how the group is doing as team?

About the coaching, I don’t think is makes much sense, because:

  • At least one full day is needed to get the coach up to date with TransforMap and its issues
  • Our main problem is, that we are not working together, because we are not together and cannot agree on meeting/working times as a whole team - but in Witzenhausen we ARE together and should use this precious time to work and not to discuss.

OK. I don’t want to force the thing, but I have to clarify points in my proposal that seem to be not clear enough.

I see this team building effort in addition to the working session, in no case it would replace the working session (yes it would take two days from the work).

Please don’t see this proposal as a competing thing or process, come on! It happens, because @almereyda and I sat in a coffee in Berlin where we both live, and we shared about our respective lives. If such communication channels are seen as undermining the process, then we really have a problem.

The type of coaching I was thinking about doesn’t require the coach to be aware of the shit we think is so important. On the contrary the coach would be here to avoid starting talking about architecture or mailing lists. This would be about connecting the people we are and developing a deeper mutual understanding (has nothing to do with a roadmap, vision, etc.) and have some positive collective experience that can feed our drive to work together. This isn’t about improving the way we’re working together, this is about connecting each other with empathy.

Regarding the scheduling: I would have rather had this at the beginning of the two weeks yes, but it could make sense as a break session in the middle.

Regarding attendance: I had not realized that @josefkreitmayer wouln’t be there. Regarding participation of @maxlath, I don’t see it as a problem. That would actually be an occasion to connect with him.

Regarding preparation: planning ahead is better yes, when you can afford it. But again that sort of team development doesn’t require elaborate preparation or follow-up. And I would take care of the preparation with Coco (the proposed “coach”).


I would reverse that proposition as follows: we work too little together and there is no communication because we’re a dysfunctional team.

I was in Witzenhausen but moved to Brussels for FOSDEM, staying here today and either coming back to Witzenhausen tomorrow or in the next days.

Some words on the coaching vs coding part: as I told @gandhiano, I’m interested in this collaboration as it seems what I learned working with Wikidata and APIs could be useful and at the same time I could learn a lot on working with geo data. And last but not least, I like the people around here :slight_smile:
But, as I see it as a punctual collaboration, I’m not interested in all team building/coaching aspects, and would then prefer keep my time for building; which is something I love to do so it’s definitely not an issue! So to sum up my situation: in any case, I will be in Witzenhausen between the 8th and the 21st: if you want to take days for coaching or any kind of meta discussions, we can put our collaboration on pause and I will be working on inventaire and be super happy with that, and we can resume it when you want to be back at work and be super happy with that too :slight_smile: So, really, do as is the best for your project on the long term, I’m totally fine being a variable in this plan