Being in a team is a bit like being in a row boat.
I’m a fan of the idea that “All models are wrong, but some are useful. I’ve been thinking about teams and how row boats can be a useful model for thinking about them.
The people on the team
New members being added to a team, or people leaving a team, is a bit like people getting in and out of a row boat. The boat will always rock at least a little bit. From the person getting in or out or from the people already in the boat moving around to accommodate the change. Some people jump rather than step in or out of the boat, rocking it quite a bit!
(Another useful model I’m a fan of is Tuckman’s stages of group development: forming, storming, norming, performing.)
The external things affecting the team
The conditions of the water that the boat is on is a bit like the environment the team is in. If the water is particularly choppy or stormy, getting in and out of the boat is more difficult. The people already in the boat might be more stressed, and holding on tight to where they already are!
The size of the team
How many people can fit in a (smallish) row boat is a bit like how many people can fit in a well-sized team. Probably a single digit number of people. You can squeeze in “too many” people, but it makes the boat less stable. You’re more likely to have people fall overboard!
The direction of the team
The strategic direction of a team is a bit like the direction the boat is going. The boat goes smoothly in one direction when a single person is rowing. It goes smoothly when most people in the boat agree the direction to go. It goes less smoothly when two people are rowing, especially if they disagree about the direction they’re going!
Being in a team is a bit like being in a row boat
Well, it can be a useful model for thinking about teams.