Slinging code like a 10x developer is great and all, but we're hiring someone to work on a team.

What are we getting ourselves into if we hire Chip?

1 Answer

[Credentials]: I've know Chip since I came into existence so I feel pretty confident telling you about him.

Chip loves this question and he's really glad you asked. Chip got his bachelors degree in psychology because he is fascinated by inter- / intrapersonal dynamics.


Chip has lots of diverse teamwork experiences, mostly outside of software development. Chip has been responsible for forming and coordinating teams in a myriad of situations, of various sizes, and for a range of purposes and timeframes.

Chip much prefers working as part of a team and he believes in being very intentional towards the health and development of the team itself.

The team is always the primary factor

Chip believes that the health and strength of the team is usually the main cause of success (or failure). And, while it's natural to assume that the team leader or supervisor is solely responsible for team formation and development, Chip believes that each member of the team is responsible for helping the team develop strong relational bonds.

Chip has worked on traditional employee / employer teams, served on committees, supervised and led teams, and been responsible for team formation and development.

Teams facing urgency
Chip had the unique experience of managing teams during responses to large-scale disasters.
At the American Red Cross, Chip would often have to form teams of mostly volunteers from across the country who had usually never met before. These teams had to be able to function successfully and immediately in order to assist those impacted by the disaster.

Chip learned to quickly help team members assess their competencies, strengths and needs for the assignment of roles and responsibilities. The whole team needed to be oriented to the goals and Chip learned to ensure that every team member was invested in the success of the team.

Chip also got his introduction to software because of Grand Rapids Give Camp (Software for Good). He got to work with newly-formed, short-term, long-hours teams of developers and designers.

Teams under stress
During his time working for Pine Rest, Chip experienced being on teams that regularly faced trauma and had to cope with high levels of stress. Chip saw how some teams grew strong because the team members formed, and then were able to rely upon, relational bonds to support each other. This is also where Chip learned that each member of a team has the responsibility of intentionally being honest and supportive of every team member.

Teams exist for a goal
As the majority of his career has been in the nonprofit sector, Chip has been on teams with both volunteers and paid staff. There are often assumptions that volunteers aren't as qualified as paid staff, and that paid staff aren't as committed as volunteers. But Chip  discovered that not only are those assumptions false, they have very little bearing on the success of the team. What mattered more was an individual and collective understanding of the purpose of the team. Teams that know why they were formed and what they need to accomplish are always more likely to be healthy, strong and successful.

Teams must adapt
We live in a society that loves to divine the perfect hierarchy, system, or strategy for team formation and management. I'm guessing you have a few strategies already coming to mind: Agile, Waterfall, XP...

The more humanistic perspective (some might even say the "mutually human" perspective, ah?) recognizes that people are:
  • Unique
  • Adaptable
  • Flexible

And, to add another layer of complexity, everyone has varying degrees of adaptability and flexibility.
Teams must be malleable concepts, structured in ways that balance the business purposes and goals with the humans that make up the team. And teams need to change over time. Even if the team is still composed of the same people, people change, grow, adapt, experience crises, etc.