Team Charter Workshop

Culture eats strategy for breakfast.

A healthy team culture has the power to influence the work of a team to a greater degree than company values or processes. I have seen that a healthy culture of excellence can be designed by reinforcing the behaviors aligned with your values and discouraging those who don't.

Context

In May 2022 I led a Team Charter workshop for a team I was leading at Disney. This team had suffered from attrition and low morale due to a painful merger between the Disney+ and Hulu organizations. I was determined to right the course for the team with a healthy foundation. Dot Voting

Planning for Success

Like every design project, we began with problem framing, stayed in low fidelity to test ideas, and then added fidelity as more decisions were made. Much of that low-fidelity work happened in Google documents.

My direct team (2 Managers + 1 Principal ) and I spent 5-6 hours in pre-planning. I prepared a stump schedule, and draft goals, that the working group could react to. We planned for a mix of light and heavy work.

Core Sessions

We wrapped these core sessions in plenty of downtime and breaks for Boba tea, side bar conversations, and playlist curation.

Pro Tip: prepare a playlist of background music for the day. I can't overstate how helpful music can be in lubricating critical conversations.

A redacted planning document for you to copy:
https://docs.google.com/document/d/1h7DjrrkWT_2N62TvJ-E1isimgb6i9XZT/edit

Workshop Plan

#ymmv This workshop was highly tailored to our culture and POV but you're welcome to build off of this. At the very least this can help frame out logistical requirements for a great workshop in addition to content requirements.

Facilitation Deck

We distilled the planning doc into a deck for facilitating the day, and recording what decisions we could. Most of the work happened on the walls around us.

Dot Voting

Results

This workshop became the model for design teams at Disney Streaming to follow. I white-labeled the workshop plan and consulted with three other teams who used this format to draft their own team charter.

This workshop stoped attrition and boosted morale:
In 2021 we lost 65% of this team.
In 2022 we grew 400%.

Weekly team pulse checks literally turned frowns upside down as we saw:
more 😏
less 😫

Anecdotally I saw stronger collaboration and sharing between designers on the team. Our critiques became more vibrant and inclusive. Our cross-functional partners took notice and asked me for more design support on projects and helping to shape their teams.