Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Drumlines: A Case Study in Merging Two Teams


Two teams. Two different cultures. Two spoken languages. One common experience.

The Top Secret Drum Corps of Basel is a stand-alone drum corps in the military tradition (though this group is not affiliated with the Swiss military).

The Blue Devils Percussion Line is part of the larger Blue Devils competitive marching band. If you have ever encountered a Drum Corps International competition flipping channels, you have probably seen them.

They met each other 5 minutes prior to the start of this video.

By the 10 minute mark of this video, they are starting to work together. (You can start the video at minute 9, but the entire beginning – including the Drum Corps battle – is worth watching).

How did these two very different teams start working together so quickly?

  • They had a common vocabulary – drumming
  • They had some commonality of experience – drum line work + precision marching
  • They had a shared vision – work together to create an entertaining segment for the Basel Tattoo.

The final result?

I’ve seen the same dynamic with stage crews. Disparate teams (like a road crew and a local crew) working together to get a show started on-time. Shared experience. Shared vocabulary. Shared mission.

High-functioning engineering teams – same thing.

Give the teams a clear mission. Leverage their shared experience and shared vocabulary. And get out of their way.

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