I am a manager in a web company in The Netherlands.

In our company there are two different development teams, one lead by me, the other lead by the CTO (one of the founders and also my boss).
Unfortunately my boss had a minor breakdown a few moths ago, which made him leave the company, and now that he is returning to work, he made it clear he doesn't want to reassume his role as CTO.
When the he left the company, I made clear to the CEO that if he wanted me to take up his position, I would be willing to fill in and manage the other development team as well. At that moment they declined because they wanted to see if one of the developers in the team rose up to the occasion and became leader of their group.
This has not happened.
There are three key people in the group: a high C/S with organizational skills who holds respect, but has no leadership ambitions, but has project management ambitions. A high I with many contacts in the field, creative ideas, but who doesn't want to lead, but more inspire and do cool stuff and last but not least a high D/C who is the typical young developer genius with god complex and he has seen himself as the protege of the CTO, but he has no great management skills and if he actually became the manager some people would definitely not be happy and perhaps quit.
I hold respect with all three of them as manager and I have good personal relationships with them.
Yesterday I have been asked to take over this development team and combine them with my team in one big development team, because I have made great progress with my team, turning them from the least profitable team in the company to the most profitable team in the company, in the last year (thank you forever Mark and Mike for giving me one-on-ones, feedback and coaching! ) 
I really want to accept the offer, but I am aware I'm getting myself in hornet's nest.
How do I approach this problem, how do I make sure the 3 key people from that team accept me as their new boss (and by default the rest of the team) and how do I make sure my current team doesn't feel neglected?

And what may I expect from my CEO and the former CTO in terms of support?
Thank you in advance for the advice

stephenbooth_uk's picture

 There's a cast for those times you take over a team and your new directs include someone who thought they should get the job, How to Manage a Disgruntled Non Promoted Direct.  That might help.

To prevent your existing team feeling neglected I think the best way forward is to integrate the two teams as quickly as possible, e.g. if you use pair programming try to make pairs mixed between the teams, when setting work packages try to make sure people from each former team are working together, don't differentiate at team meetings or in procedures, if you've been doing O3s with your existing team roll them out as quickly as possible to the remainder of your new team &c.  Quite quickly you should find that the barriers break down and you move from two separate treams to one team.



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"Start with the customer and work backwards, not with the tools and work forwards" - James Womack


kavehkalantar's picture


Here is my opinion:

1. I think the first thing would be to change your mind set. in software teams, it is inefficient to have a boos, you are their facilitator , you (as project manager) are the shipdog and not the BOSS, they must accept you as their shipdog not the BOSS. You need to show them that you are capable of providing them the environment, atmosphere and suitable equipment they need to do their job. Leave the BOSS out of your vocabulary, Call yourself the shipdog!

2. Try to NOT change the culture of the new team, if they have been working together for a long time (lets say if they are together for more than 3-6 months, then you better to change their way of doing things). Try to not impose your-team's-way-of-doing-things on the new team, consult with them and see how they are doing things, and ask for their recommendations. The best is to not change anything at the beginning.

3.  I assume you are not doing any sort of Agile Project Management, If not Try some , try the mixture of Scrum and XP and implement it in both team. if you are using it now, then you should not call yourself project manager or Boss ;)

4. Give them the chance to manage themselves


And Good Luck


robertfsteele's picture

The company I work for uses a work management system by AtTask, which I would highly recommend to avoid these problems. Unfortunately, this suggestion is not going to solve your current problem; I only say it to avoid encountering future problems. AtTask, like other cloud PM tools, is web-based, allowing users to access projects anytime and anywhere. This helps everyone manage their work at more ease, and because everything can be stored online (documents, gantt charts, etc), teams have real time history of the project. If, as in your case, a team changes in whatever way, a new project manager can pick up where the previous one left off very easily.

Again, this example may or may not help you at the moment, but I would encourage giving the program a look.