Taking Farmers to Markets Service Delivery Handbook

Building a team

An empowered and gelled multidisciplinary team (MDT) is critical to service transformation.

A successful MDT will have:

  • balance of technical, subject matter and digital skills
  • resourcing and people to deliver
  • ability to research and understand the problem
  • flexibility to change as they learn more
  • confidence to make decisions on the evidence
  • focus on significant outcomes over output and deliverables.

# Teams are self managing

Strong teams are self-managing and made up of self starters.

Each member takes ownership of the things they can complete, while still working towards common goals.

# Members have depth and flexibility (T shape)

MDTs work best when the members have a real depth of capability in one area and willingness to flex in others.

For example, a team member might be an expert content designer and also willing to flex their skills into development.

'T-shape' describes skill and ability: a person's vertical depth, combined with their horizontal flexibility.

Having T-shaped people in teams means that we bring together the deep expertise needed, as well as collaborating to deliver outcomes beyond individual disciplines.

# Skill sets are valued over public service hierarchy

Strong teams are built around the skill sets needed, not the hierarchy of individual members.

Our teams are usually:

  • co-located or work closely using remote tools
  • empowered to make decisions about the product or service
  • have all the roles in the team to scope, design and deliver a feature or improvement.

Service managers and product managers are usually senior staff. Other teams members may have a mix of expertise and experience.

# The unit of delivery is the team

Teams that deliver great services are those that collaborate together and share ownership, even over the contribution of any one individual team member.

This means that the whole team should take responsibility for things like:

  • user research
  • design of the service
  • quality of the code.

Everyone takes part in watching and analysing research with people so we develop empathy. This means we can make decisions grounded in the context of people and the problems they need to solve.

# Most people stay in one team

Most people in a delivery team are committed to the team full-time.

Some team members, like subject matter experts, may be part-time. Their contribution may be in addition to a normal daily role.

Occasionally a team member might be shared between multiple delivery teams.

# Teams stay together

Where we can, we will set up ongoing teams to create and improve a product or service over a long period of time.

This means that the knowledge about the product or service and its users stays within the team.

It also helps the team to get better at working together to solve problems.