I was talking to a friend last week who works for an expert… in how to stifle teamwork.

It’s simple, really: Establish two classes of membership on the team, then follow these steps to ensure that all are aware of the distinction.

1) Bring in donuts for the team every Tuesday… and don’t tell the 2nd class team members. Even better, explicitly communicate that donuts are only for 1st class team members.

2) Hold a team celebration at the end of the project…and provide 1 drink ticket for 2nd class member and 4 for 1st class members. Or don’t invite the 2nd class members at all!

3) Hold meetings to discuss project business, and exclude the 2nd class team members. If they ask to attend, tell them the meetings are to discuss topics they don’t need to know about… or say “This is meeting is only for 1st class team members.”

4) Swap in new 2nd class staff frequently (2nd class team member are fungible, afterall, unlike more important 1st class team members). This is a double-header strategy – it slows down progress, too!

5) Don’t communicate plans and goals to 2nd class team members – assume they’ll just pick it up from the rest of the team.

6) Establish that some roles are only open to one class … whether or not they have the requisite skills and qualities.

7) Discuss the failings of the 2nd class team members publicly.

8) Blame the 2nd class when the so-called team fails to work together effectively…“They just don’t understand how to work as part of a team.”

You could do this with developers and testers. Or employees and contractors. Or people with technical focus and people with business focus. Any two classes will do.

I don’t make these stories up. Really I don’t.

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