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I'm looking for innovatives ways to improve the whole team & raise the global level in every aspects, not just technicals ones.

My actual solutions :

  • programming challenge vith votes, notes etc

  • teaching each others : each month, a member might present a new api,strategy, whatever that help to build better sofwares. It will end up with votes. If it is approved, the team will commit to use it for a month. Then feedback.Then use it or leave it.

  • annual review to reduce you blind spot of your Johari window. Personnaly, i really find instructive the farewell feview, done each time i leave definitively a group of people.

Because of social conditioning, they need a warming up. So i really tell them to not filter their words & almost badmouth about me.

No matter what they would say i will stay quiet.

It works great with women, especially if they can answer with an email and you far away (double safety net)

And what about yours ?

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Nice try, Michael Scott. –  SquidScareMe Feb 9 '11 at 16:07
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Off-topic, should be on programmers.stackexchange.com (wait for it to be migrated automatically via closing). –  Orbling Feb 9 '11 at 16:09
    
should maybe be community wiki? –  Dominic Kexel Feb 9 '11 at 16:09
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migrated from stackoverflow.com Feb 9 '11 at 16:21

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5 Answers

We do a lunch and learn/Free Friday where we dedicate time to projects that developers want to work on, or to deliver topics/watch conferences like mvcconf.org. There are a lot of great suggestions here: Great Lunch and Learn Topics

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Pair Programming

simple and efficient

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If you want to improve things other than technical aspects (and your suggestions are good so I won't try to add anything new there), try non-technical events. Social events like everyone going out to a restaurant for lunch (or order in pizza and eat in the boardroom!), or bowling, or some other group activity can really help build a team. Making it semi-regular (monthly or bi-monthly) can also be good. And try to have non-work related conversations at such events.

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Have a mandatory team book club where you all read and discuss the same book.

  • Choose books that reflect practices and ideas that you want the team to embrace.
  • Purchase the books for the team and allow them to keep the books.
  • Allow them to schedule time into their work week to read the book and study the materials.
  • Review the book one chapter a week so as not to get overwhelmed.
  • Invite people from other teams to join in if they wish to.
  • After the first book ask the team to request books that they find interesting.

Update: Instead of mandatory meetings schedule them in a way where everyone can attend and ask that everyone attend the first one. Then allow them to participate as they will.

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Making things "mandatory" can breed resentment in those who don't want to participate. You have get buy-in from people (I know, it's easier said than done), or you'll get a lot of half-assed meetings where no one asks questions because they don't really want to be there and they want it to end as soon as possible. –  FrustratedWithFormsDesigner Feb 9 '11 at 16:45
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On @Ryan Hayes's lunch and learn idea, get people to do a 15-minute talk after the weekly status meeting. As junior engineers for what they might have learned in school that older engineers might not have learned about. One example was TDD. It is much easier to get someone to prepare a 15-minute talk than a one hour one. And easier to get people to listen/stay for it.

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