The slow-nimble team distinction

In a recent converation, the question arose about whether the distinctions between nimble and slow teams are exclusive. Do they have things in common? 

I would argue that they are two ends of a team culture and performance continuum. Teams can exist anywhere along the continuum and move consciously or unconsciously in either direction. 

Teams in the middle can have much in common, and less in common as they move closer to either end. At the ends, in more complete forms, they work from opposite principles and practices.

The principles of slow teams include:

  • Do your job, make your numbers, react well to pressure to not be yourself
  • Expect that focus on deficiencies is the shortest distance to improvement 
  • Stay within the lines of permissions and approvals 
  • Be careful how sharing anything can get in the way of your productivity 

The principles of nimble teams include:

  • Make growing together the point and path of your work
  • Define success together and move towards it through progress & sharing
  • Expect that focus on our goodness will best support our growth 
  • When you see something that needs to be done, do it, and pair with others for velocity