Dynamic Reteaming
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Dynamic Reteaming

The Art and Wisdom of Changing Teams, First Edition

About the Book

Team change will happen whether we like it or not. People will come and go from our teams. Our companies might double in size or even get acquired. We can catalyze team change to reduce the risk of attrition, learning and career stagnation and the development of knowledge silos.  Dynamic Reteaming describes practices for effective reteaming as well as antipatterns.

In this book you'll learn how to integrate new people into an existing team, how to deal with the loss of team members, when to split a team, how to isolate teams for focused innovation, how to rotate team members for knowledge sharing, how to break through organizational stagnation and much more.


Please note - this LeanPub version is the First Edition of Dynamic Reteaming. There is also an Audible of the first edition and paper and kindle versions on Amazon. There is a newer, second edition of this book published by O'Reilly that you can buy on AMAZON.

The first edition of this book has some additional stories that aren't in the second edition. The second edition has more complete treatment of the merging pattern, some new interviews not in the first version, a more extensive one-by-one pattern description with onboarding activities, as well as a more comprehensive "part 3" of the book which contains practical activities for dealing with the before, during and after reteaming.


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  • Categories

    • Agile
    • Startups
    • Teamwork
    • Project Management
    • Innovation Management
    • Leadership
    • Product Management
    • Quality Management
    • Computer Science
    • Engineering Management
    • Engineering Management
    • Enterprise Management
    • Agile Enterprise
    • Business and IT Alignment
    • Software Engineering
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About the Author

Heidi Helfand
Heidi Helfand

Heidi Helfand is the author of "Dynamic Reteaming." With a deep passion for helping companies build outstanding products and high-performing teams, Heidi focuses on the human aspect of engineering. Over her 20-year career in the tech industry, she has held key roles at AppFolio, Procore, and Expertcity/GoToMeeting, gaining invaluable experience in guiding organizations through change and team scaling. Based in Southern California, Heidi enjoys quality time with her family and exploring the outdoors.

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Reader Testimonials

Amy C. Edmondson
Amy C. Edmondson

Professor, Harvard Business School, Author of Teaming and The Fearless Organization

For most of us, our image of teamwork needs to be updated – the stable, familiar groups of people who learn how to work together well are being replaced by fluid, porous teams that have to work together in new ways. Helfand provides inspiration and practical insights for how to do this well.

Richard Sheridan
Richard Sheridan

Cofounder and Chief Storyteller, Menlo Innovations, Author of Joy, Inc. and Chief Joy Officer

There is no question that the future belongs to the curious learner. I can easily say that the future belongs to Heidi Helfand and those lucky ones that are her students. In Dynamic Reteaming, Heidi takes on some important big ideas with great wisdom, humility and curiosity. We are all better for her efforts. Read, learn, experiment, grow!

Lyssa Adkins
Lyssa Adkins

Author of Coaching Agile Teams and Coach of Difficult Problems

If you want to weather the comings and goings, the hits and misses, the ups and downs of team life, this book is the guide. If you want to understand a more accurate and complex model of team lifecycles, read deep from this book. Drawn from experience with her real engineering and product development teams, Heidi is the voice of engineers. She stands up for what they need in team life and offers sage advice for organizations who want to give it to them so they can create products that matter.

Andrea Goulet
Andrea Goulet

Cofounder and CEO Corgibytes

Heidi Helfand’s work on Dynamic Reteaming has helped us develop specific strategies for growing our team in a way where individuals feel like they are contributing work that matters. In today's fast-paced environment where team members joining and departing is a constant, Heidi's book helps leaders think through how to best navigate change and even turn it into a competitive advantage.

Joshua Kerievsky
Joshua Kerievsky

CEO, Industrial Logic, Author of Refactoring to Patterns

Heidi’s wisdom will change how you think about, form, re-form and participate in teams. Her stories, whether from the three successful startups she’s guided through hyper-growth or the dozens of teams she’s interviewed across the globe, delineate the power, intelligence and joy of reteaming. If you seek a healthier, happier, more harmonious approach to teaming, study this book.

Sandi Mamoli
Sandi Mamoli

Founder Nomad8, Coauthor of Creating Great Teams

Whether you like it or not, teams are going to change. You might as well get good at it.” This is the premise of Heidi's book which is a treasure trove of stories and anecdotes from practitioners from all over the world. The author brings to life her extensive research coupled with deep personal experience. I highly recommend this book as a source of inspiration and guidance for anyone working with teams in a world of change.

John Cutler
John Cutler

Product Evangelist, Amplitude

The authentic stories--from Heidi’s own experiences and from an impressive variety of companies—make Dynamic Reteaming such an amazing read. I very much appreciate that in many cases the stories don’t follow the happy path. There’s a catalyst. The team (or teams) try something, and make some progress. They’re hit with real world challenges. And the team course corrects. With each repeat reading I unearth new lessons in these stories. But that is enough from me. Start reading please.

Table of Contents

  • Praise for Dynamic Reteaming
  • Foreword by Diana Larsen
  • Introduction
  • Approach
    • Audience
    • Participants
    • How to Use this Book
  • Part 1: What is Dynamic Reteaming?
    • Dynamic Reteaming Ecocycle
    • Basic Definitions
    • The Social Dynamic of a Team
    • Cadences of Dynamic Reteaming
    • The Politics of Team Assignment and Change
    • Reduce Risk and Encourage Sustainability
  • Part 2: Dynamic Reteaming Patterns & Stories
    • One by One
    • Grow and Split
    • Isolation
    • Merging
    • Switching
  • Reteaming for Company Growth
    • One by One Pattern
    • Tactics for Onboarding New Team Members
    • New Hires Can Shadow Mentors to Learn
    • Hiring & Onboarding to Reduce Surprises Later
    • Seeding Teams
    • Bootcamps and Network Formation
    • Grow and Split Pattern
    • Guidelines for When Teams Grow and Split
    • Grow and Split at the Tribe Level
  • Reteaming for the Work
    • Isolation Pattern for Pivoting & Innovation
    • Form Teams and Reteam Around the Work
    • Reteam when “Overloaded” with Work
    • Reteam to Reset the Work at the Tribe Level
    • Organic Team Formation
  • Reteaming for Learning, Fulfillment, and Sustainability
    • Switching Pattern
    • Switching to Deliberately Spread Knowledge
    • Switching Teams to Support a Feature
    • Rotating Developers for Friendship & Pairing
    • Switching for Personal Growth & Learning
    • Empower People to Re-Role
    • Reteaming for Short-Term Events
  • Reteaming for the Code
    • Reteaming to Solve Emergencies
    • Scaling the Isolation Pattern
    • Reteaming to Refactor
    • Reteaming to Share Production Support
    • Reteaming for Cross-Team Infrastructure Work
  • Reteaming to Liberate
    • Silenced People Could Be a Sign for a Reteam
    • Splitting Teams with Unrelated Work
    • Reteaming to Find a Better Fit
    • When People Leave You Have a New Team
  • Antipatterns - What Gives Reteaming a Bad Reputation
    • Reteaming To Spread “High Performance”
    • The Percentage Antipattern
    • The Priority Shuffle — Internal Threats to Teams
    • Drawing Out the Layoffs
    • Ambiguity around Layoffs
    • Chaotic Takeovers & Impersonal Reteamings
    • Not Dealing with Toxic Behavior
    • Keeping the Toxic Team Together
    • Hoarding Team Members
  • Constraints and Enablers
    • Collaboration Dynamics
    • Team Size & Implications for Reteaming
    • Variables That Impact Dynamic Reteaming
  • Part 3: Face Reality & Get Good at Dynamic Reteaming
    • Cultivate Community to Prime for Future Reteaming
    • Reflect on Team Compositions and How to Shift
    • New Teams Have Formed or Changed — Now What?
    • Planning Larger Reteamings
    • Whiteboard Reteaming to Enable Self Selection
    • Team Choice Marketplace to Enable Self Selection
  • Conclusion
  • Acknowledgments
  • References
  • About the Author

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