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The Personality Dynamics of Technical Teams


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The Personality Dynamics of Technical Teams

  1. 1. The Personality Dynamics of Technical Teams From Insight to Action Jennifer Tucker, Ph.D. OKA (Otto Kroeger Associates) (703) 591-6284 [email_address]
  2. 2. Agenda <ul><li>Introduction Exercise </li></ul><ul><li>Team Dynamics Research Summary </li></ul><ul><li>From Preference to Behavior: Portraits of Jung Type Behavior </li></ul><ul><li>Getting to Action: Case Study Exercise </li></ul><ul><li>Discussion and Questions </li></ul>Note: This presentation was delivered at the ASME Global Engineering Management Conference in Dallas, Texas on 13 April 2010. Photos were taken at the event and inserted into the presentation for posting. Use of this material should be cited as follows: Tucker, Jennifer. 2010. The Personality Dynamics of Technical Teams . Presentation for the 2010 ASME Global Engineering Management Conference, Dallas, TX; 13 April 2010.
  3. 3. Introduction Exercise…. <ul><li>The best, most successful teams I have been associated with were great because __________. </li></ul><ul><li>The worst teams I have been associated with were unsuccessful or failed because __________. </li></ul><ul><li>Workshop output to right: </li></ul>
  4. 4. Researching Team Dynamics <ul><li>Research study sponsored by Defense Acquisition University (DAU): Involved a range of quantitative and qualitative research tools to explore team dynamics and perception of success. We worked with 600 professionals in 77 teams. </li></ul><ul><li>Instruments included Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® (MBTI®), FIRO-B®, Work Environment Scales (WES), a Robot exercise, and a study-specific survey about demographics and success. </li></ul><ul><li>Of importance in managing teams today: the average team had been together only 2 years, 45% of teams had been together a year or less. </li></ul>MBTI, Myers-Briggs, and the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator are registered trademarks of the MBTI Trust, Inc. in the United States and other countries. FIRO-B is a trademark of CPP, Inc.
  5. 5. Teams Reported Conflicting Needs Needs for Autonomy & Independence High proportion of objectively- focused professionals. Unusually low needs for Inclusion, and little need to be controlled, or to control Teams desire a high level of Autonomy, the ability to shape their own approaches Successful teams report lower wanted inclusion & lower expressed control than teams in turmoil. Needs for Cohesion & Support “ Work together effectively” a key contributor to success. Teams desire a higher level of Peer Cohesion than currently seen. Teams desire a high level of Supervisor Support and Clarity. Successful teams report higher Supervisor Support than teams in turmoil.
  6. 6. But Are They Successful? <ul><li>Respondents rated their team as successful or in turmoil, and selected three factors driving the rating. The ability to “work together effectively” was a key factor, along with “on-time delivery” and “high quality services.” </li></ul><ul><li>What’s Missing? How About: “Meets user requirements.” </li></ul>
  7. 7. Psychological Type: A Popular Portal Into Team Dynamics and Performance <ul><li>MBTI Results: Sample versus National Sample (GP): </li></ul>41% “Introverted Thinkers” Generally prefer a &quot;lone-gun&quot; approach to work, least likely to engage interpersonally with colleagues. (GP – 23%) 50% “Thinking Judgers” Generally prefer approaches that quickly result in order, clarity, and closure. (GP – 28%) 77% “Thinkers” Generally prefer logical, objective, impersonal decision-making, focusing upon cause-effect relationships and the clarity that comes from objectivity (problem first, people second). (GP – 50%)
  8. 8. Research Implications <ul><li>Increased specialization and the need for cross-functional teams demands both technical and people skills </li></ul><ul><li>Many technologists naturally have an affinity to technology – not people. Too often, this focus on the technical realm neglects people/user-based dynamics and concerns. </li></ul><ul><li>Many need concrete objective evidence of the benefit that inter-personal skills can have on project outcomes. </li></ul><ul><li>The ability to “work together effectively” is hard to systematize: What does “working together effectively” mean? </li></ul>
  9. 9. <ul><li>Inability to succinctly communicate overarching goals </li></ul><ul><li>Failure to manage scope creep </li></ul><ul><li>Poor client management and communication skills </li></ul><ul><li>Failure to maintain upper management support </li></ul><ul><li>Failure to differentiate between customer groups </li></ul><ul><li>Lack of team and meeting management skills </li></ul><ul><li>Over-emphasis on risk management – dampening creativity </li></ul><ul><li>Project team burn-out; no “buffer” time for crises </li></ul>Here’s What Working Effectively Together ISN’T: Common Reported Trouble Areas Source: Tucker, J (2008) Introduction to Type and Project Management” CPP, 2008
  10. 10. Psychological Type Is A Model That Can Inform Many Trouble Areas References: (1) Rutledge, DH (2004) MBTI Introduction Workbook. OKA (Otto Kroeger Associates); Fairfax, VA; (2) Tucker, J (2008) Introduction to Type and Project Management. CPP, Inc. Mountain View, CA
  11. 11. From Preference to Behavior <ul><li>The MBTI® Assessment is one of the most popular psychological instruments available. Impacts are highest when made directly applicable to technical team’s work. </li></ul><ul><li>Broadening the focus from preference to behavior , in a very tactical way, helps teams concretely apply the principles: the Portraits of Jung Type Behavior™ provides a tool for this. </li></ul><ul><li>It asks: What type-based behaviors are helping an individual and/or team? What’s missing? What’s being misapplied or overdone? Behavioral clarity leads to action planning. </li></ul>
  12. 12. Overview of Portraits of Jung Type Behavior™ <ul><li>Self-administered assessment </li></ul><ul><li>Draws from both the theory of psychological type and Relationship Awareness Theory </li></ul><ul><li>Highlights your behavioral choices, either in a whole-life focus, or in a specific area (e.g., team participation) </li></ul>
  13. 13. Completing the Portraits <ul><li>Separate the behavior stickers from each sheet. </li></ul><ul><li>Use the green stickers on the green portrait, and the orange stickers on the orange portrait. </li></ul><ul><li>Sort the stickers from top to bottom on the portrait, with one card per space: put the behaviors you use most frequently at the top, the ones you use least frequently at the bottom. </li></ul><ul><li>Stickers on the same row have the same weight. </li></ul><ul><li>You can score using the instructions on the Portraits. </li></ul>
  14. 14. Completing the Portraits
  15. 15. Applying the Portraits: Exercise <ul><li>Name a time when one of your top behaviors supported a team’s success. What did you do? How did it work? </li></ul><ul><li>Name a time when one of your underused behaviors (near the bottom of the list) could have been used to help a team’s effectiveness. What could you have done? Lesson learned? </li></ul><ul><li>Name a time when a behavior was OVERUSED, contributing to a team problem or risk. What happened, and what would you do differently next time? </li></ul><ul><li>How can you generalize these experiences into practical actions to support team dynamics? </li></ul>
  16. 16. Three Guiding Questions for Team Effectiveness: Use Them Often and Anytime! <ul><li>What’s working well? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>What behaviors are strengths? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>What’s not working well? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>What behaviors do we need more of, or less of? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>What should we do differently given this? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>What actions should we take, as individuals and as a team? </li></ul></ul>
  17. 17. Getting Things Back on Track: Common Targets for Action Planning <ul><li>Communication and Information Flow </li></ul><ul><li>Alignment of Authority and Accountability </li></ul><ul><li>Structural and Role Clarity </li></ul><ul><li>Balancing Process and Product </li></ul><ul><li>Balancing Procedural Clarity with Flexibility and Trust </li></ul><ul><li>Effective Conversations and Giving Frequent Feedback </li></ul>
  18. 18. For More Information <ul><li>For more on the team dynamics research presented here: Tucker, J., Mackness, A., and Rutledge, D.H. 2004. The Human Dynamics of IT Teams . CrossTalk – DoD Journal of Software Engineering. February 2004. Download Article </li></ul><ul><li>For more on the Portraits of Jung Type Behavior (JTB), by Hile Rutledge and Tim Scudder: Visit JTB Webpage </li></ul><ul><li>For more about OKA, the presenter, or just to chat about team dynamics in your organization, contact Jennifer Tucker at (703) 591-6284 or [email_address] </li></ul>