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Fungible teams

(of goods contracted for without an individual specimen being specified) Able to replace or be replaced by another identical item; mutually interchangeable.

  •  money is fungible—money that is raised for one purpose can easily be used for another.

As coaches, change agents, whatever, we spend quite a lot of time working with managers and teams to help them understand that people are not easily replaced. Each person has unique experiences, skills and views. It can be difficult at times, but it is something I strongly believe.

However, does this translate to teams? Can truly agile teams be treated as fungible?

Just like people, a team has unique experiences, skills and views. Does this mean they can’t be readily swapped?

A well-functioning agile team can quickly adapt to new circumstances. In a world of constantly changing needs, it is proving essential. So, is it reasonable to assume that you could interchange teams to meet specific goals? Treat them as fungible assets? They aren’t truly fungible, i.e. they aren’t identical, but could they be considered such within certain boundaries?

I’m not claiming it is the best or right thing to do, but could it work? Could you use it to achieve business advantages? Is it something we should consider?

For more on teams, read Teams without a goal go nowhere

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