team is a group of two or more people aligned with a common goal. A high-performance team is a team that is objectively better than other teams doing similar work (or with a similar goal, if it’s not a work team). Objectively better means that we can measure teams and compare them to each other. Aim for objective metrics that someone outside the system can observe, and try to avoid subjective measurements.

What metrics can you use to compare teams? It’s context-specific. Here are some measurements you can try for different kinds of teams.

  • For a work team, like the one you’re part of in your company, try revenue, profit, cycle time, days since last broken build, time to fix broken build, code quality, decibels of conversational buzz in the workspace, number of acts of kindness, or ratio of positive to negative words and behaviors. To make it easier to compare teams across organizations, try normalizing with time units, like revenue per month or profit per employee.
  • For a learning group, like the students in my course at Harvard, try change in knowledge from beginning to end of the semester.
  • For a public speaker company, like mine, try revenue, number of dates booked, number of speeches delivered, and audience size.
  • For a community organization like Agile New England, try number of people served, number of volunteers, and cash available.
  • For an athletic team, like Jacobo Apito’s fight team, try wins, points scored, number of current champions, number of tickets sold, or amount of money raised for charity.
  • For a family, like Molly, Jonah, Layla, and me, try number of boardgames played per week, number of meals eaten together, minutes of quality conversation, or amount of laughing together.
  • For a primary relationship, like Molly and me, try number of “I love you”s spoken aloud, minutes of quality conversation, minutes to resolve a conflict, amount of cuddle time, number of Check Ins, number of kisses, minutes touching, minutes engaged in activity together (walking, yoga, cycling, singing), or minutes of eye contact.

What kind of team are you on? What metrics could you use to gauge whether yours is a “high-performance team”? Tweet or Instagram your thoughts with hashtag #highperformance.