Explicit is Better than Implicit: Making Culture Visible with Team Charters

30-minute Talk - Saturday, July 27 at 12:00pm in Cartoon 1

If you’ve ever joined a new team, you know that there are hidden rules for how the team operates: what they value in their day-today work, what is important to them.

Breaking news: teams are hard. We document our code... shouldn't we document our team's values and ideals?

Beautiful is better than ugly. There is more to a team than just throwing people together and telling them to ship code. The culture of the team matters, Not company culture, but the culture and operating rules of the group of people that spend their days together. That culture can be amazing when it is mindfully considered. So how does that happen?

Explicit is better than implicit. A team charter is documentation written by a group of people to capture their purpose, their values, their working rules, and their general processes. Making the invisible visible is the purpose of the team charter.

There should be one-- and preferably only one --obvious way to do it. Your team charter will provide an anchor to keep your team true to their ideals, even and especially during periods of great stress by providing a written record of how they aspire to work together.

In the face of ambiguity, refuse the temptation to guess. Whether it is establishing priorities or onboarding new team members, your team charter will take the guesswork out of the non-code parts of working together.

In this talk, we'll explore what a team charter is, how to create one, and view examples of charters teams have created and used in their day-to-day work.


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