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Sunday, November 6, 2011

Indicators of a broken team

I think I have a new metric for when a team is broken. First, the person who's been championing a better way to do something gets filibustered for a year and a half. Then, when things finally open up, work proceeds at a rapid pace, but only one person (that same one) is getting anything done.

Six months later, that person predictably burns out and bails out of the team or the entire company. Four months after that, one of the broken people on that team is finally terminated for not delivering anything after years of doing nothing useful. Six months after that, the last remaining individual contributor on the team is similarly terminated for the same reason.

Finally, the manager with no more reports transfers to another project.

This is also a good metric for detecting incompetent management at multiple levels. If this broken situation is only noticed when the star performer goes supernova, then it's pretty clear they had no idea what was going on.

In that case, they deserve everything they get: projects which never go anywhere and no measurable accomplishments for years on end. Of course, at a suitably broken company, they will be richly rewarded for this kind of circular wankery. There's no reason to change, so they don't.

Apparently you have to have a soul to feel the need to escape this kind of cycle. Who knew?