Whenever one of my taxi passengers mentions that they work with a “team” in their workplace, I inquire about how the team operates. I am particularly interested in whether the team leader is “in charge” and holds the authority to make the final decision. More often than not, that has been the case.
Last night, however, I gave a ride to a high-level Google executive. He said he prefers 6 -8 person teams. Larger teams are more problematic, he said.
The key process with Google is that proponents for proposed changes in Google’s codes present their proposal to others who review and evaluate the proposal, who must approve it. If the reviewer sees a problem, he or she can block the change. Thus, consensus is required.
The head of the teams are called “Tech Leads.” If the Tech Lead has an idea that the other team members do not support, “the Tech Lead loses.”
I find this process remarkably democratic and encouraging.