Top 5 things to know about a network of teams

A network of teams is an efficient way of organizing your company's workforce. Tom Merritt explains five things you need to know about a network of teams.

Top 5 things to know about a network of teams

You may have heard the phrase "network of teams" kicking around--it's often described as a non-hierarchical way of organizing your workforce. So, how do you build this, and what good will it do you? Here are five things to know about a network of teams.

  1. You'll need a map. Take all your current practices, include every employee, and map out how everything you do gets done. This will start to indicate what kinds of teams you will need to cover the things you need to get done. You may try a technique called organizational network analysis (ONA) to identify what networks are already in place.
  2. Give the teams their purpose. Once you've identified where you need teams, then you should write up a description of what tasks a particular team will execute and what skills are needed from the team members to do it. Each team should know what the organization's goal is and what their goal is as a part of that.
  3. Decentralize the decision-making. Let teams lay out their own road map to success. Remember, you gave them the tasks--let the team decide how to accomplish them.
  4. Provide the infrastructure. Each team's members are responsible for budgeting, hiring, and communicating with other teams, so make sure to give them the tech tools they need to do that efficiently. You should also provide the transparency and visibility to help them get the information they need.
  5. Try, learn, and try again. Let the teams make mistakes, and let the teams figure out how to correct them. And don't be afraid to disband a team and create new ones as your needs change.

Teams are a natural way for people to work. If you set up the system to make it clear where to aim and give them the resources to do it, you may all get better at hitting the target.

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