Transcript from the "Using the Team Charter" Lesson
>> All right, so we've built an amazing team charter now, we all have clarity. [LAUGH] So what do you do, what now? I think it's important that you've now have this asset and that you have clarity on your team. But so what do you do with it? You wanna share it with your team?
[00:00:18] And what I mean by obviously, I emphasize bring your team along this journey. When I recently had done this with my newest team, we pulled in breakouts, it's about a 20 person team and so we did smaller breakouts. And then there is obviously about, I think we did four to five people breaking out so you have about four or five exercises or sheets that we have and I pulled them together and I look for common patterns.
[00:00:45] I even use ChatGPT to pull out some of the common themes from them. And then started to wordsmith some of the details of, really one to two sentences of, why do we exist and making that very clear and concise? And I did that for each of them and I brought it back to the team.
[00:01:04] And there's a little bit back and forth, well, I disagree with that. And so we started to get a little more clarity and wordsmithing and that tightens it up. Then share it with your leadership team, do they agree with it? I hope they do, but maybe they don't.
[00:01:21] And that can be even just tightening up alignment if you all aren't aligned on what a team does or exists, that's important to get alignment. Share with your partners, very helpful. They know why your team exists and it's clear and that's also why being at that high level is good.
[00:01:39] No one's gonna read a 20 page doc on what your team does. They might, but they're not gonna remember it and you want them to at least be able to remember it, Mark.
>> That reminded me of something Jem said yesterday, people find reward and doing something difficult and challenging.
>> Yeah it shouldn't be easy, right, it's sometimes taking the step back and doing something is rewarding. I feel like my team was happy with it, I mean, I guess I should ask them, I wish I have. I'm, how was that exercise, what would you do differently, always be looking for feedback on it, share it with customers, granted, allright For me right now being in productivity engineering my customers are people like Jem, his team and so I can share it with them for clarity.
[00:02:26] When I worked on the acquisition UI team, my customers were a lot of you if you're Netflix subscribers. I'm not gonna share it with all the people subscribing to Netflix, so, a grain of salt there on the customer side. And then this is an important one, revisit it, revisit 1 to 2 times a year, you do not need to do it every other week or anything like that.
[00:02:49] But just have some sort of cadence where you're going back to it and saying, are we still on this charter? Maybe you're not, and that's okay, sometimes teams evolve. So you can revisit it, say maybe we need to adjust or maybe we've gotten off path. And so you can start to have conversations around that.
[00:03:09] There again, bring your team along for that journey and have those check-ins with them. All right, let's recap, Jem, go ahead.
>> On the charter one, the what don't we do, is one of the most important things for my team, who I talked about yesterday, but we own so much stuff.
[00:03:28] And it's like defensive for me cuz I share with partners and customers and I'm, hey, this is the contract that we were providing and people, okay, okay, okay. So a lot of people don't read it. But later, it saved me so many times in this first year of taking over this new team, which is just, hey, Jem, your team owns that, right?
[00:03:47] And I'm, nope, you see right here, see that thing I showed you? We don't own that, we can have a conversation about it, but we're gonna have to change this contract. And I wanna make it really clear about what we do and don't do. So, it's one of those as a software engineer, I didn't appreciate a charter as a manager.
[00:04:01] It's so important to be, here's what my team does and here's what we don't do..
>> I wanna also touch on 100% agree with all the things you said, Jem, but I also wanna touch on as the engineering part. Is I think that it's like it does help your team maybe be that first line of defense if they're asked for something, too.
[00:04:18] It's, they might get asked to go do something, they're, no, that's not part of our charter. So it might not even hit your plate as the manager, so that's also helpful, Mark.
>> Natalie says a documented charter is a great contract between you and your partners for when you find yourself veering off the path to get back on it.
>> Absolutely, and like Jem said, you can have a conversation that maybe it needs to change. Maybe you should own whatever they're asking you to own, but you need to have conversations. You should not just de facto go own something else because maybe you need more resources. Maybe it comes at the cost of something else you have to reprioritize.
[00:04:58] These are the conversations you wanna have, I think the charter does help these conversations, Mark. Is the creation and modification of the team charter, a team exercise or something that the manager creates and sort of dictates or is it somewhere in between?
>> I think it's more in between, I've seen it done where it is a little more top down from the manager.
[00:05:20] I think that's okay. But I think it misses on things where maybe the managers writes it up first and then shares it with the team to get their input. But I really think it is a good shared exercise, so that you can get that clarity and alignment in a team setting, and you will have people that disagree.
[00:05:40] And so you wanna have those conversations and hear them out, maybe you are missing something. So I absolutely believe her that it shouldn't be a shared experience. And not just, here's what we do, just take it at face value and that's what it is. So, it can kind of start from maybe in the manager or you can do what I've done of doing breakouts with the team.
[00:06:00] But ultimately, I think you want your team's input on it, yeah, Mark.
>> Daniel asks, if you're a manager and you have both internal and external employees, do you include the external ones in the charters, one on one, growth plans, etc?
>> Its good question, contractors or things like that.
[00:06:19] I think it depends, it definitely depends. I've managed teams where I've had contractors that are very far removed from the team. I may not include them on the brainstorm meaning getting that clarity, but I'm sharing it with them. I think that's really helpful for them to have that context and understanding of why the team exists.
[00:06:42] I think it will help them be more effective. But it really depends, I've had also contractors that are embedded in my team. They may not be a full time employee, but they're pretty embedded, so I'm gonna treat them very much so and want their opinion and thoughts on it.
[00:06:57] So I think it just depends, and I think use your judgment on that, but it does help for them to see it, Mark.
>> How often do you revisit the charter, and how often should we recalibrate it?
>> That's a good question. I typically, in the past, and probably sometimes even forget to do this, but one to two times a year is good.
[00:07:18] Or in Jem's case, when someone brings something to your team and you're, no, we don't do that. But then you're, but who does? And maybe that opens up the door again to revisit the charter or have those conversations. So I think it's a living and breathing document. I mean, you can revisit it every week if you want, but I don't think it should be constantly changing because then that's not bringing clarity to your team.
[00:07:43] You don't have that path and you can veer off a path, it's okay, but you wanna be explicit and thoughtful on that. So I usually say, 1 to 2 times a year, maybe once a quarter even, that seems like a realistic check in point on it