The Science of Teams (TSoT) is an original scientific framework for analyzing “systems of people”, or what are frequently called “teams”, and finding ways to better organize them to improve team output without negatively impacting team efficiencies or increasing a team’s costs.
Professionals interested in TSoT includes leaders and aspiring leaders at all organizational levels: individual contributors, supervisors, managers, directors, department heads, project managers, human resource professionals, and anyone tasked with producing outputs using people and seeking a best-practice functional technical framework.
To capture a more precise language construct, TSoT combines the terms “systems of people” and “teams” to the combined term “team systems”. TSoT is then a framework to evaluate and propose optimal “team systems”.
- TEAM – Persons organized into an activity.
- INPUT - A tangible or intangible, final or intermediary, material.
- MATERIAL – Facts, data, information, ideas, or physical matter from which things can be made.
- PROCESS – The action or inaction of transforming material inputs into material outputs.
- OUTPUT – A tangible or intangible, final or intermediary, transformed material input.
Alternate relevant definitions of Material:
- Something to which value can be assigned
- Something that is measurable
- Something that can be transformed, remade, shaped, changed
- Something that can affect an action or decision
- Something that can affect something else
The core of TSoT is designed around the foundational principle that team systems are formed to produce measurable output that has value. As such, TSoT is a good management tool for organizing teams in administration and industry because those teams generally are measured in specific ways including value and output, against the cost or problems of having the team systems exist.
A team system is ideal not when you have put everything you can think of into it to get the output you desire, but when you have nothing left to take away from it while preserving desired output.
- PHILOSOPHICALLY LEAN – The expansion of a team system depends on the positive measurement of value.
- PHILOSOPHICALLY EFFICIENT – The expansion of a team system depends upon the positive measurement of ideality.
- MARKET - the abstract consumer of team system output
TSoT is also a continuous improvement framework holding several assumptions and several exclusions. The core knowledge captured in TSoT is a theory of hard science problem solving applied to people in team systems with the goal of improving the value of output.
You will immediately notice attractive new themes and distinctive new ways of tackling organizing solutions that are unique to the views of a TSoT architect using a scientific approach. Do not be put off by these new approaches; embrace them, and they will propel your teams to amazing new heights.
Conceptually, TSoT uses a “hard science” approach to its models and philosophies. Hard science implies a methodological approach based upon repeatability, testable quantified predictions, and a high degree of objectivity.
A specific “soft” component not considered in TSoT are emotional drivers or how a person may “feel” about a proposed team system organizing principle.
Why not include “feelings” in the TSoT models? Because there already exists an abundance of well-established emotional intelligence and psychology-based team frameworks. So many so that it could be argued a balance is needed between the hard and soft organizing views.
Our work here does not dismiss a softer approach, it is simply designed to provide a balancing scientific complement so that extraordinarily complex situations can be fully evaluated and solved with all available tools.
Sometimes a ‘hard’ approach may be best, sometimes a ‘soft’ approach best, or more likely, a combination of the two approaches is best.
Also, it is important to address soft elements not covered in TSoT like buy-in and ownership when organizing or reorganizing a group of people. These concepts have real world value, but they are not covered here.