Wisdom of teams

I am currently reading The Wisdom of Crowds by James Surowiecki. His point is that diverse crowds can provide extremely wise answers to questions that most experts have difficulty to answer. The most well known example is to count the number of beans in a jar. If your audience is large enough their average will be pretty accurate.

The most interesting part of the book when it relates to my daily work is the section how this works out in smaller teams. If a team is diverse and there is open flow of communication, teams are more than just the sum of its individual members. There is also the catch, creating a situation where everybody can inject new information and members adjust their opinions based on this information is difficult at best.

My experience that a lot of people make assumptions and have mental models about who has power in a team and how their own role is perceived by others. Usually those assumptions are plain wrong. Making people voice their assumptions and make them realize that they are incorrect has a profound impact on their willingness to contribute and thus their ability to add value to the team.

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One Response to “Wisdom of teams”

  1. A safe team environment « Arnoud on Software Development Says:

    […] In my earlier post Wisdom of teams I talked about the importance of people being able to speak up in their teams. More often than not it takes courage to do so, courage that not everybody has in same quantities. […]

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