I’m sure most developers have at some point been told they are part of a “team”.  But do you feel like you are?  Do you know how a team should work?  It has taken me 6 employers and 20 years to really understand what a team is and how it works in the real world.

There are many reasons why people believe they are part of a team, but a group of developers who work for the same boss is not a team.  Just because you sit at the same desk doesn’t make you a team, not even when you all work on the same source code.

There are many complex definitions of teams and teamwork but when you really experience teamwork for the first time it is truly something to behold.  You suddenly realise you’ve never actually been part of a team before.  You thought you were, you even used phrases such as “my team”, you may have even led a team of developers but now you realise you’ve been doing it all wrong.

I first experienced true teamwork when I joined tombola.  I was welcomed by my fellow developers and it didn’t take long to settle in and start working with the team on a project.  As a team we took the business requirements, split the requirements into multiple stories/tasks, started off the sprint and the whole dev team worked on this one goal.  During the daily stand up there was plenty of team discussion around the work going on and by the end of the week the pieces were glued together and a new feature was formed, tested and deployed.

What makes this even more miraculous is the fact that this is the norm. I’ve been part of this team for over a year now and the teamwork approach to delivering for the business happens week in, week out.  I can now say with utter confidence I am in a “team”.