Dysfunctional Teams

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Home » Dysfunctional Teams

Collaborative teams working well together is the key to a successful transformation. When teams breakdown, productivity and morale soon follow, and the result will be dysfunctional teams.

The term ‘dysfunctional’ may be misleading, however the concept of a team that works well together, versus a team that is struggling, will be familiar to most.  


Dysfunction can be caused by teams that do not understand the common goal, the prioritisation or are simply too big to optimise workflow. 


In Agile, teams work together towards a common goal.  Creating alignment around objectives will ensure everyone moves in the same direction despite differences in opinions and perspectives.  


Agile methodology includes the concepts of ‘prioritisation’ (what’s important in the next two weeks), and regular conversations (micro meetings called Standups every day).   Teams that create an ongoing shared understanding of the goal, and meet regularly, have proven to work more functionally for the organisation. 


Keeping Agile teams small enough to optimise workflow is also key to a well-functioning Agile transformation.  (The proven optimal size being 7 +/-2. ) 

What happens when there are dysfunctional teams?

When teams are not working well, there will be low morale, deadlines not met, and consumers dissatisfied with the end product.  


When teams stop delivering, it can usually be worked through with a form of diagnostic or a retrospective where teams analyse what could be done differently or improved to generate a greater sense of purpose or a more clearly defined goal. Introducing new ways of working into an organisation, will help reset and reconfigure how the organisation operates, with the result being more functional teams, better return on investment and faster speed to market.  

Always on the ADAPTOVATE reading list is Patrick Leconi’s formative work “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team”.   While this master work is a fantastic introduction to dysfunctional teams, ADAPTOVATE has seen how implementing new ways of working, will immediately change team dynamics for the better.  


‘Fixing’ team dynamics is not the end point of implementing new ways of working. It is just one of the positive outcomes of implementing an Agile mindset across the organisation. 

Are you needing help with team dynamics? Get in touch to find out how to reset your organisation’s operating model.

Psychological Safety.

Every team member must feel they work in a culture where psychological safety is non-negotiable. One of the models of Agile, Scrum, lays out five core values which provides a safe place to work. These are called Scrum Values.






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