Do you work with a team or group of individually working specialists?

In a number of companies, we can meet teams that would be more accurate to call a group of individually working specialists. They differ greatly in the way they operate from the team, risk and their effectiveness.

Let’s take a look at what the Group of Individually Working Specialists looks like. In such a group, all members are experts on their dedicated topic. However, this often leads to the fact that they are not very interested in what colleagues are dealing with and there is practically zero substitutability in this group. If one of the specialists falls ill, or even decides to leave the company, a problem arises. People often have individual goals set in these groups, because due to specializations, they do not even have a way to help each other in the group.This group is not actually held together by common goals and mutual support, but rather by habit. Specialization and separation of roles often comes with the growing size of the company. In startups, people have practically no choice but to be cross-functional from the beginning. Sometimes, however, the reason is also to try to save costs, so specialized tasks are always entrusted to the same people so that these tasks are quickly completed. And so the team does not grow, but the know-how of irreplaceable experts is built. This setting of “cooperation” of people in companies is still very common.

In contrast, a team is a group of people who have a common goal and can represent each other to some extent. Because they overlap into other crafts and share common goals with others, people in teams are more motivated to listen to what their colleagues are dealing with. They may also find it easier to think about how they can function more effectively or help each other.


What are the consequences of the functioning of groups with individual specialists? Often this is an overload of various specialists. When group members meet at regular meetups, they usually don’t care what their peers share. This is also because they do not have the appropriate specialization, they have their individual goals and in fact they do not even have a way to help their colleagues. They get to a state where they only deal with whether they have delivered their own task. Cost savings are thus realized only until there is an overload of individuals, a decrease in efficiency in meeting goals as a team or even the departure of people from the company.

How to create a team

If you have recognized any of your teams in the above and have decided to do something about it, then congratulations, the most important step, the awareness of the current state is behind you. 😊 Next, you need to start working on substitutability in your team.

  • The ideal opportunity in terms of the time to do it will probably never come, so it is not worth postponing this too much. 😊 
  • Talk to your team about which specializations are worth expanding in a team and which can remain the privilege of individuals.
  • Start sharing simple tasks first and with the supervision of more experienced colleagues
  • Think about whether the team can have a common goal to work together on. Consider moving from individual goals to team goals.
  • Think about whether you always have to talk about specialized tasks in team meetings, or rather a topic on which more people collaborate. This will lead team members to be more involved in the contributions of their colleagues.
  • Last but not least, convince the team that it is worth going for it. Highlight what the change will help them to do so that they have the motivation to share their know-how.
  • If you’re building an agile product team, check out the next article

We will be glad if you let us know if you have teams or groups of individually working specialists.And if you decide to make a change, let us know how it helped you.

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