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Chapter 16. Having It All

No team is all things to all projects. Some teams will be better at routine development, some will excel on the most intricate applications, still others are best at breaking new ground. In part, it depends on how the team is organized and coordinated. Set up your team with fixed job assignments and run it from the top down with tight controls and close supervision and you are not likely to see much in the way of innovation. Loosely run teams that foster independent initiative are more able to chart new territory; traditional teams with fixed roles are better on well-understood applications. Teams that promote open discussion and consensus building do better on really complex problems. Depending on the nature of the problem you are facing and the technical objectives of the project, one kind of teamwork organization or another will increase your chances of success.

But you knew all that. Unfortunately, the work you do doesn't fit nicely into one of the standard boxes. Your software projects are neither without precedent nor strictly routine. The problems are complex and multifaceted, yet, to deliver on time and meet requirements, high levels of dependable development performance must be seasoned with some clever invention. You might even be tempted to give some form of creative collaboration a try, but the boss doesn't understand this touchy-feely team stuff anyway and is going to hold you and you alone accountable.


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