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The Runaways: Explore Team Core Values Early in the Project

Implementation teams working on Microsoft Dynamics Projects need to have common core values if they are to survive the long course of many of today’s Dynamics engagements.  When engaged as a team member on a project do you work with other members to identify core values during project preparation or do you automatically assume that all team members have the same core values?

Explore core team values early on a Microsoft Dynamics ImplementationYesterday it was blazing hot and in the 90s.  I know, those that live in Arizona consider the 90s in summer to be a cool spell, but I live in a coastal area in Southern California.    Temperatures are generally reasonable and so we do not own an air conditioner.   We grin and bear it during the day and then open the doors and windows at night to let the cool ocean breezes in to the house. Last night was your average summer night with all the doors and windows wide open; fans a blazing away.    

My teen daughter had a friend over and invited us all to watch and rock-out the neighborhood with our open doors while watching a Blu-ray Netflix 2010 movie called “The Runaways”.  “The Runaways” were an all-girl rock band that played for about a three year period at the end of the 70s.  The band consisted of members Joan Jett, Cherie Currie, Jackie Fox, Sandy West, and Lita Ford and was put together by producer Kim Fowley.   The band never was a huge success in the United States, but was wildly successful in Japan and outside the United States.

Most people listening to the dialog and music from the movie in our neighborhood through our open doors and windows probably thought the movie was about drugs and rock-in-roll.  I on the other hand thought the movie was about project team dynamics and core values.   The Runaways had everything going for them as a rock band as they had the looks, the sounds, the talent, the producer, and they had timing as the first all-girl rock band in the world.  In other words they had team velocity, and they had achieved escape velocity as they toured Japan during the summer of 1977; nothing should have stopped them, but one day in late 1977 they hit the wall and crashed.

Near the end of the movie the band prepares to play in a recording session with Currie (Dakota Fanning) reading an article about herself in which Fowley (Michael Shannon) had made bizarre and condescending comments.  The rest of the band becomes impatient for Currie to get up and start singing so Jett (Kristen Stewart) looks at the article and decides in her mind that the article is not good public relations and does not fit the band’s values.   A fight issues ensues between team members as they quickly identify they are on different frequencies, have different expectations, and have different needs.  As a result of the team confrontation, Currie quits the band and Jett goes ballistic, throws food and herself against recording booth while pounding her fists furiously against the recording booth glass, as Fowley taunts her from within the booth.    

In five movie minutes the project team and executive sponsor had a complete meltdown and the project was cancelled. The good news is the team quickly identified in five minutes that they had disparity between their individual core values.  The bad news is it took the team three years to begin to talk about it. 

Perhaps it would have been better to evaluate the team’s core values at the beginning of the project instead of finding out accidently that there was a mismatch in core values half way through the project?  But then again, if the “The Runaways” had determined their core values early on we might never had the benefit of “Joan Jett and the Blackhearts”.

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