Bringing together a new team isn't always the easiest task and as a leader or facilitator, it's a task you are probably confronted with more often than not. Getting everyone on the same page and moving in the same direction in the newly thrown together (or even in an existing) team is crucial for the success of your project and hitting your goals.
Our Team at BlitzMinds used the Canvas to align to new goals at the beginning of 2020 and it gave us a much needed check-in and clarity for upcoming projects. We loved the simplicity and impact it provided within 25-30 minutes. Yep, you read that right - it literally only takes about 30 minutes to get from start to finish, depending on how many team members are involved. That's why we decided to share this golden (and free!) nugget with you too!
But first things first...
What is the purpose of using the Team Canvas?
In a nutshell, the Team Canvas is a straight-forward and quick tool to build productive and strong teams. It provides a structured way to align all members of a team to a collective goal, whilst taking into consideration the individual minds of the team. The Canvas sets a solid basis for common goals, expectations about each other and helps structure discussions.
Starting a new project, however, isn't necessarily the only occasion to whip out the team canvas. It's also especially useful when onboarding new team members, resolving conflicts in teams or - on a long term basis - building a productive culture.
How does the Team Canvas work?
The strategy behind the Team Canvas is split up into 3 sections.
1. What are the ROLES and GOALS of the team members?
In the first part, the team is challenged to agree on a common goal that is attainable, time-bout and measurable. The team can also share their own personal goal for the project. (5 Minutes)
Then move on to the next part of the canvas and have the team write their own name on a post-it as well as their role. If somebody holds more than one role, use separate post-its. (5 Minutes)
2. What is the PURPOSE and what are the common VALUES of the team?
In the second part, you and your team are asked to take a step back and think about the purpose and why you are doing what you are doing (10 Minutes). A question you can ask yourselves are:
--> What bigger purpose makes us pursue this common goal?
Also agree on a set of values and guiding principles, that the team stands for. (5 Minutes) These values and principles could be anything from Quality, Trust, Creativity, etc.
The cool part about the Canvas is, that it includes a lot of guiding questions for you and your team! Especially at this point, where things like purpose and values might seem a bit abstract, it is helpful to take a closer look at the guiding questions or at the example canvas (see picture down below).
3. What RULES and ACTIVITIES does the team need to follow in order to achieve their goals?
In the last step you will want to put everything you have collected so far into precise rules and guidelines for your future collaboration (10 Minutes). The template guides you to document rules & activities for communication, decision making guide lines or evaluation methods.
Picture: Example Team Canvas from www.theteamcanvas.com
Remember, that all answers are valid and there is no such thing as right or wrong when using the Team Canvas. The main purpose is to bring what everybody is thinking onto one piece of paper where everybody in the team can see it - in a literal sense: Bringing everybody in the team on the same page.
Download the Team Canvas
The Team Canvas was developed by Alex Ivanov and Mitya Voloshchuk. You can download the Team Canvas for free on their website. Besides the template the website also provides additional information and guidance on how to run your team alignment session!
We loved the simple process and hope it can help you and your team too!
Let us know how it worked out for you and your team!