Teams are an essential part of organizing and managing your community as it grows larger than just a handful of people. Getting the right number of teams, and the right size, will depend on the size and growth rate of your community. Making sure they work together effectively will require planning and infrastructure across your entire community.
Team structures allow your community to continue functioning smoothly when it becomes too large for everybody to be a part of all aspects. A team is essentially a sub-community, it will have it's own governance, processes and communication mediums just like your wider community does. It will also play a part in the governance, processes and communication of that wider community.
Defining your teams
Teams should each have a specific focus that define the objectives, strategy, and responsibility of that team. These focuses can be geographic areas, skill sets, or products. Having a clearly defined focus helps unify the members of the team around it's stated objectives, and will help you define a roadmap and scope to help that team be successful.
Some teams are tasked with managing a single project or product. They will often set the goals for their project, as well as work items and schedules to drive it forward. While they will usually need to interact with teams from other projects, as well as teams defined by skill sets or geographic areas, their responsibility is only for their project.
Other teams are defined by the skill sets of it's members. This is often the case when those skills are widely applicable to other projects and teams. Examples of skills-based teams are translators, documentation writers, and graphics designers. While these teams can decide for themselves what work to do, the specific work items and schedules are often determined by the needs of the projects they support.
For global communities, or even large national ones, it's often beneficial to form teams tasked with supporting and promotion within a smaller geographic region. These teams can tailor your activity and outreach in a way that works best for the culture, language and population of their specific area. They are also very helpful for planning and running physical events in their area.
Pitfalls To Avoid
Too many teams
Teams are important, but more isn't always better. It's very easy to get carried away and create a new team for every new project or problem in your community, but if you create too many teams you won't have enough people to fulfill their purpose.
Try not to create new teams until the need for them becomes clear. Instead, try to find an existing team that you can ask to take on the tasks, strengthening that team as needed.
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The most innovative and successful teams bring together diverse personalities and perspectives. The challenge in that formula is that diversity of thought opens the door for personal and professional conflict. Facilitating group consciousness of how to connect with those who think differently can optimize the diversity factor and group cohesion simultaneously.
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