It is a commonly held belief that a team comprised of a blend of skills and experiences can accomplish nearly anything. Because we believe that teams are effective, they are used to solve nearly every problem. In some cases the word ‘team’ has become a talisman without a practical definition. In many cases the lack of definition means that what we call teams have amorphous membership and boundaries which makes it hard to understand who is member, even for those who are on the team.

In his 2009 book, ‘Leading Teams’, J. Richard Hackman suggests that if teams are not bounded the effectiveness of team is reduced. This reduced effectiveness can be caused by many factors, including role confusion or by inability to invest in building trusting relationships. If you don’t know who is on the team today or who will be on it tomorrow, it is is difficult to invest the time and emotional capital needed to build relationships. This is especially true of diverse teams with people of different backgrounds.

Teams have great value. When we discuss the Agile principle of IT and the business working together on a daily basis, the underlying assumption is that the interaction happens at a team level. However, for the interaction to be effective the team needs to be effective. One critical component of building an effective team is that it needs to be bounded, so that the necessary relationships can be built for information and knowledge sharing.