Supercharge teams

The TIMEWhirlpool © is an excellent method to help supercharge teams. The TIMEW represents the Team, Individual, Management, Enterprise and Work aspects. It provides each individual team member with the opportunity to contribute needs and goals to a team goal setting event. This not only breaks down the typical project manager lock on goal setting, but inspires team members to set goals that are personally motivating and team empowering. It is particularly powerful at the start of a project, or when a project changes direction.

The TIMEWhirlpool motivates and empowers yourself and your people!

  • Each individual ia asked to write down 2 - 4 goals or needs on sticky notes.
  • The TIMEWhirlpool facilitator and/or Scrum master coach prepares the TIMEWhirlpool map on several large sheets of paper.
  • Each individual is then asked to place their items on the map under one of the five aspects, They mark the note with a 'T' if it is a team item, an 'I' if it is an indiviudal item, an 'M' if it is a management item, an 'E' it iit is an enterprise item or a 'W' if it is a work item. They explain the item as they place it on the map.
  • Customer related items are usually placed under 'W'ork or 'E'nterprise as the person chooses.
  • Individuals are given the opportunity to add 1 or 2 more items once they see the map. Newcomers rarely consider individual items in setting project goals, so the TIMEWhirlpool emphasizes that individual goals are important too.
  • The facilitator asks the individuals/team members to see if they can relate 2 items from different aspects. For example is there a related individual item and team item?
  • If a person sees a relationship, they can group the 2 items, explaining why, and move it into the first circle inwards from the outside. This is the '2 related items' circle. Usually, multiple related items should progress into this circle.
  • If a person sees a relationship with an item from a 3rd aspect, they can group this with a 2 aspect group and move it into the second circle inwards. This is the '3 related items' circle. Visually, participants see items drawn into the center of the whirlpool.
  • This can be repeated as many times as possible, so that items may progress into the '4 related items' circle, and even the innermost '5 related items' circle.
  • When everyone agrees that no further progress is possible, the items in the highest related items circles, whether 3, 4 or 5 aspects are inspected.
  • In the ideal case, a group of items covers all five aspects, namely the group addresses team, individual, management, enterprise and work related goals. This becomes the basis for a super goal. If possible a one sentence statement of the goal is written. This supergoal may be an over-arching goal for a project,  and it may become the core of a team manifesto and a vision statement.

When every individual team member agrees with the supergoal, this is motivating for each individual; it will empower the team to act; and it will provide customers and stakeholders with a powerful statement of the team's intentions and aspirations.

The following photos show a typical TIMEWhirlpool evolution, from starting with the items on the map, then at the end of the discussion and grouping, and finally showing how a Scrum team uses it on a TIMEWall with an inital product backlog and the Supergoal statement.

The TIMEWhirlpool © remains the copyright of Han van Loon, but may used under free license as long as the following statement is always displayed with its use:

The TIMEWhirlpool © is the invention of Han van Loon. It is part of the STARS methodology. We hereby acknowledge and thank Han van Loon for allowing its use.