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** how to get feel of Team, before joining? **

Hi all,

I will be transferring to another team in my company soon.
I want to get good idea of team environment before joining, as had unpleasant experience in current team.

How best to go about doing this? I intend to speak to all team members(15-20). but what to ask? any suggestions?

Constructive Advice Seeker
Monday, August 02, 2004

This seems like the situation where one of those "team building excercises" might be helpful. You know, where your team works together to build something or compete in some wacky contests (crossing stumps by moving boards around).

The team is often much more important than the technology when it comes to factors affecting success.

Mr.Analogy
Monday, August 02, 2004

Thanks for ur insight. Definitely agree abt team >>imp>> tech. Thats why moving onto new team, in hopes that team will be better.


Anyway from earlier attempts, I have seen that people are hesitant to bring up team issues.
Even if they are unhappy or have serious concerns, they keep quiet.

Maybe I shud ask neutral questions like:
- whats leadership style of lead? is he detail oriented?
- whats his delegation style?
any other suggestions?

Constructive Advice Seeker
Monday, August 02, 2004

If you are in the same company, why not meet them for lunch sometime and perhaps see if you can spend a day in their office?

Chris
Monday, August 02, 2004

sleep with one of the team member. she/he will tell you all.

Viral marketing my ass
Monday, August 02, 2004

> This seems like the situation where one of those "team building excercises" might be helpful. You know, where your team works together to build something or compete in some wacky contests (crossing stumps by moving boards around).

Are you for real, Mr Analogy? These types of corporate manipulation are the biggest load of codswallop ever. The message is that you're meant to honour and obey your leader because you got sweaty together. Puh-lease.


Monday, August 02, 2004

Simple. Find someone who was on the team for a year or so and who left to join another. Take him or her to lunch and listen to what they say about their old team.

Code Monkey
Monday, August 02, 2004

THanks for all the great comments so far.

talking with former team member: great idea! not sure will find one though.

take team members out to lunch:
great suggestion. I do intend to talk with all of them. The prob is, from past experience, somehow I am not getting the right answers. Like the time I was in, the initial feedback I got was everythings great, even though no one was happy with the team.

To get right answers, maybe I need to ask right questions. and thats where need help... thanks!

Constructive Advice Seeker
Monday, August 02, 2004

"Constructive Advice Seeker"

What is wrong with signing with a name? The first name would be fine, no one is going to google "Mike" and find you.

Outraged reader
Monday, August 02, 2004

P.S. That last part was a joke.

Alex
Monday, August 02, 2004

Any chance you can pair with, or at least shadow, a few of the team members (selected at random) for an hour or two each?  Heisenberg's uncertainty principle will apply, but you'll get a feel for the flow of a typical workday.

Sam Livingston-Gray
Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Put yourself in the other guy's shoes - some stranger comes into the office and asks "What's Jim like to work with?"  "What's Richard's management style?"  I bet you'd either lie or spin a positive story to keep in with your team members and manager.  Why should you sacrifice your relationships with co-workers to help someone else out that you hardly know? What if the new guy goes and tells Jim what you said?!

One thing you could do is ask the usual questions, but instead of giving weight to the answers (which are likely to be positive) pay attention to how much thought the person gives before replying.  After all, if someone asks if you're having fun, you instinctively know, you don't have to think about it!

Steve Power
Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Take them to the pub, or at least go with them to the pub.

Drink, listen, speak rarely.
Drink some more, listen better.

etc, etc

Simon Lucy
Tuesday, August 03, 2004

"I want to get good idea of team environment before joining, as had unpleasant experience in current team."

What kind of unpleasantness are we talking about?  Too many over-caffeinated, FPS playing, nasally guy with thick glasses?  Or too many uptight, perfectly attired, boring neat-freaks?  Anwering this might offer insight into how you might wanna gather info about the new team...

Kenny
Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Meet with each team member individually, if possible, but not at a formal setting (e.g. your office, a meeting room), say lunch or a happy hour drink after work.

Ask just a few open-ended questions (e.g. "What are you working on?", "How is the progress on that?", etc.), and spend most of your time listening, as one other poster suggested.

Pay attention to what is *not* said as much as what each person does say.  Also, non-verbal feedback is important -- if you get a bunch of curt replies, and they look away, or change the subject, you may be onto a sore point.

anonymous financial IT guy
Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Great input, guys! Thanks everyone.
Simon/IT guy: Thanks! "listen more, speak rarely" will do.
Sam: will definitely try out your shadow/pair suggestion.

Kenny: issue with old team? got great feedback initially, but reality was otherwise :
- roles/objectives not properly defined
- team discontent with lack-of-growth; felt underutilized; etc
Steve Power's explanation makes lot of sense.

Constructive Advice Seeker
Tuesday, August 03, 2004

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