Tiger Team Best Practices

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TigerTeamCollage

Panelists from left to right: Hanna Sicker, Jennifer Dormoy and Laura Bermudez

FountainBlue’s April 20 When She Speaks event was on the topic of Tiger Team Best Practices. Below are notes from the conversation.

Our panelists have deep and broad experience with leading teams, particularly tiger teams solving technical problems. Our panelists agreed that Tiger Teams are generally small and focused on important, mission-critical projects which are often high profile. It may be a project that’s blocked or failing or broken in some way, or it may be a high-potential project just getting started. 

Tiger Teams sometimes have several specialists involved, people who are experts at certain aspects of the project or certain layers of the stack. And sometimes it’s comprised of generalists with broad technical and business skills.

What’s critical is that each team member is passionate and driven about creating an efficient and effective solution for that important project, and persistent and competent enough to consistently deliver to stellar measurable results, overcoming huge obstacles.

Tiger teams are not meant for everyone or for every project. Many tiger teams require extra workloads and additional hours. Many tiger teams require working on cutting edge technologies solving technical and process issues which are mission critical. If you’re considering joining a tiger team, make sure that you have the bandwidth to contribute fully to the cause, and the interest and passion to do a deep dive into intricate technologies and sticky problems.

Below is a compilation of advice from our sage panelists.

  • If you’re lobbying for the resources, members and funds to initiatives, speak in the strategic business terms executives would understand – make the business case and show the value of the project, using data to make your point.
  • Treat your people well. Give them the resources and support they need so that they can succeed. Give them the types of tasks which draws upon their strengths. Be positive and supportive and fun, and make it worth their while to join the team.
  • Tiger Teams often have to solve problems across teams, across technologies, across divisions. Building networks of relationships and communicating across different groups are essential strategies for success.
  • Build on your successes and solve bigger problems following each success.
  • Tiger Teams work in waves. Along time for the planning, the build-up and ramp-up, the intense execution, and the learning and maintenance.
  • Invite people with diverse experiences and perspectives to the team. 
  • Consider the learning styles of the different members of the team, and use this information to help ensure that everyone’s learning, and that all can contribute in ways which work for them. (See resource section.)
  • Create a tiger teams that is as competitive as they are collaborative, as communicative as they are inclusive. 

The bottom line is that Tiger Teams are important not just for solving mission-critical problems, but also for forging new innovation, new ideas, new solutions.

Resource: 

The Seven Learning Styles https://www.learning-styles-online.com/overview/

Learning Styles.jpg

  • Visual (spatial):You prefer using pictures, images, and spatial understanding.
  • Aural (auditory-musical): You prefer using sound and music.
  • Verbal (linguistic): You prefer using words, both in speech and writing.
  • Physical (kinesthetic): You prefer using your body, hands and sense of touch.
  • Logical (mathematical): You prefer using logic, reasoning and systems.
  • Social (interpersonal): You prefer to learn in groups or with other people.
  • Solitary (intrapersonal): You prefer to work alone and use self-study.

Please join me in thanking our panelists for FountainBlue’s April 20 When She Speaks was event on the topic of Tiger Team Best Practices and our gracious hosts at eBay.

  • Facilitator Linda Holroyd, CEO, FountainBlue
  • Panelist Laura Bermudez, Director of Software Development, eBay and NPD & Board Member, Meritus College Fund
  • Panelist Jennifer Dormoy, VP of Engineering, Swift Navigation
  • Panelist Hanna Sicker, Head of Global Security and Site Reliability Engineering, StubHub
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