I’ve recently joined a downtown Toronto digital media agency. It’s a very different place from the usual stuffy corporate IT shops that I’ve worked in throughout my career. It’s very creative, very cool and very manic. Don’t get me wrong, this place has some of the most talented people I’ve ever worked with. From the top down everyone is talented, creative and committed. The mania is a result of the evolutionary stage this organization is in. Bruce Tuckman proposed the “Forming-storming-norming-performing” model of team development in 1965. This organization was clearly in the storming phase. The company was about 7 years old and had grown from roughly 4 people to over 50. They had recently been acquired by a huge corporate media company and were in the process of transitioning to that companies standards and practices. Clearly the future was bright. My job is to run the software development team.
When I got here the team was in shambles; 2 people had quit in the 2 weeks prior to my arrival and 2 more quit in my first 2 weeks. I now had 3 developers and a tonne of work. Ironically, everybody’s reason for leaving was that there was too much work, too little time and too little appreciation for their efforts. On the upside the people I had left were extremely talented, passionate and had the support of senior management. There was some hope! Clearly I had a lot of work to do.