What is the hive?
The HIVE is a collaborative residency at thecamp – an innovation hub opened in 2017 – in the south of France. 20 creatives are gathered there to work on different projects from ideation to prototype delivery in 6 months time.
Each team mixed both, disciplines and personnalities. Those 6 months felt to me like an accelerate course on team management! In the beginning our team counted three members (manager, UX designer and graphic designer). We made it to march 2018 – Demo Day – with one resignation and one prototype.
As each project had its own internal organisation, here are some key lessons I learned working in a cross-disciplinary team.
1. step up / step down
We realised along the way that trust was a major component of teamwork. The greatest strength of multidisciplinary teams lies in their complementarity. So why not take advantage of it?
We experimented different models, but the one that felt the most natural – and the most efficient – was undoubtedly when leadership became circular. You have to know when to step up – if you feel confident with the subject -, or step down to let someone else take the lead.
2. STICK TO YOUR TEAM VALUES
Look in the same direction
Starting with why was hard. Defining the project, framing the problem, putting our finger on the issue… there would be so many ways to describe this “little” but mandatory step for the team to look in the same direction from day 1.
But the hardest was yet to come. Throughout our many pivots and plateaus, we often found ourselves losing those original values we all agreed on.
Stress, deadlines and comparison can go a long way to change a team’s culture. In the end, we made sure to have at least one person play the culture safeguard role. This allowed us not to derail (at least not as often or easily as before) from our values.
At first, we each described our needs, strengths and weakness when working on a project. This first step was a great way to understand our triggers. Knowing those traits also helped anticipate, manage and navigate through rough patches. With this parameters in mind, we tried to make sure our organisation would satisfy everyone (or at least, not unleash the Hulk lurking inside us).
Checking regularly on those needs and their(non) fulfilment (?) also helped us adjusting and testing methodologies according to those sessions.
Lastly, exchanging mutual feedback gave us a new perspective on our own performance / attitude
It’s okay to mess up. Just talk about it, there is a way around it. And if there’s not, it’s also okay. If the team sticks together, there WILL be a SOLUTION – usually, it’s not the one you expected.
We underwent some rough patches during our project development. We pivoted a trillion times – so much that when we came for feedback, we were asked what new project we decided to launch. But eventually we made it through … by sticking together.
TRUST TRUST TRUST
Eventually it all comes down to trust. In our team, we knew that we were evolving in a safe space. We felt free to express our ideas, fears, pivots, or even doubts.
What I learned above all is: your project is your team. Nurturing should be your priority
What do you think? What are your go-tos in teams? Have you had a “teampiphany” lately?