The Team Diagnostic Survey is a well-validated instrument designed to diagnose the strengths and weaknesses of teams. Drs. Ruth Wageman, Richard Hackman, Erin Lehman and their colleagues at Harvard and other universities developed this assessment based on their research about the major conditions that foster team effectiveness. It measures 6 Conditions that account for up to 80% of team effectiveness, 3 Key Task Processes that emerge from those conditions, and 3 measures of Team Effectiveness.

6 Conditions

The first part of the diagram, the Six Conditions, represent the main features of a team’s design that you can influence to shape its effectiveness. The Six Conditions are presented in chronological order. To build a great team, first come the Essentials (Real Team, Right People, Compelling Purpose). When the Essentials are in good shape, turn next to the quality of the Enablers (Sound Structure, Supportive Organizational Context, Team Coaching)

The Essentials

These are the three main conditions that result in a sturdy platform for any team to be able to perform effectively: a Real Team, working toward a Compelling Purpose, with the Right People involved in the team. If any of these conditions are missing or weak, teams will inevitably struggle over time.

The Enablers

Sound Structure, which means the team’s size, tasks, and core norms of conduct, Supportive Organizational Context, meaning the organization’s structures and systems enable rather than undermine teamwork. The third Enabler is Team Coaching, meaning the availability of someone to help the team develop effective processes.

Key Task Processes

Key Task Processes mean the ways that members are working together result in the team using its full capabilities to do the work well and the team is growing in capability. Effort is working in ways that build shared commitment to the work and the team. Strategy means inventing uniquely suited approaches to the work. Knowledge and skill is using member capabilities well.

Team Effectiveness

The Criteria of Team Effectiveness mean that the team outcomes are excellent. Task Performance means the main clients or users of the team’s work are satisfied with the quality, quantity, and timeliness of the team’s work. Quality of Group Process means the group is becoming increasingly effective over time, not just for a one-time good performance. Member Satisfaction means that the team contributes to the learning, growth and satisfaction of its members. There are tradeoffs among these three outcomes in the short run (e.g., sometimes a team has to put task performance ahead of member learning), but great teams are able to make those tradeoffs and build positive outcomes on all three over time.