Promote factors that form a high-performance team

There is a significant body of knowledge about the key factors that form a high performance team with team members delivering their best and creating synergy. It is worth paying attention to these factors and to do what is possible to promote these factors. The following list includes key factors forming a high performance team.

Define team activties as seperate activities in the project plan

  • When starting the project
  • As iterative activities throughout the project


Set the team

  • Select the right people for the team


Form team

  • Allow time to get team started and form relations
  • Establish a positive working climate 
  • Establish good physical settings for teamwork
  • Clarify roles and responsibilities
  • Set Clear goals 
  • Give team responsibility for results
  • Improve and maintain relationships between members


Define team routines

  • Meeting plan
  • Guidelines (development, test…)
  • Definition of “Done”
  • Planning horizon
  • Process for task assignment and follow-up
  • Ensure method to identify and remove issues and blockers


Performance and learning

  • Find sustainable pace (where the team can deliver consistently on high level)
  • Define method to measure performance and progress
  • Define method to collect and adapt learnings


Communication to team

  • Create team communication plan


Recognize and reward results

  • Celebrate success
  • Establish 1:1 follow-up
  • Establish development and reward 


One of the most coherent concepts for establishing high performance teams is the scrum team principles that define concrete approaches for team responsibility for iterative planning, frequent communication, measurement of performance and integrated team learning ref:


The other side of the coin – The non performing team

When a project does not deliver the expected results, unrealistic deadlines, unclear requirements and politics are often blamed. Only rarely is the blame put on poor team performance despite its importance and influence.

There is a significant difference in both innovation capacity and productivity rates between poor and high performance teams. 

While the “soft stuff” is important, project teams suffer from other characteristics such as:

  • Poor results (missed deadlines, dissatisfied customers, poor product quality)
  • Poor team spirit
  • Poor communication
  • Poor project setting
  • Unclear roles and responsibilities
  • Lack of involvement in the planning processes
  • Lack of feedback on deliverables and iterative incorporation of lessons learned


While there is a list of factors contributing to a high performance team, there is also a list of factors that in many cases will have a negative effect on team performance. These factors include:

  • Lack of interest from project sponsor / management
  • Unclear objectives and constantly changing performance goals
  • Dishonesty, unfairness  and negative feedback
  • Team members lacking motivation or skills
  • Unrealistic deadlines and plans 
  • Participants on many different locations and project staffed with part time participants
  • Work Overload