Michael Jordan once said, "Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence win championships."

This quote perfectly illustrates the importance of team culture in building high-performance software development teams that can work together effectively to achieve a common goal. In software engineering, this means understanding the concept of team topologies and how they can shape and support team culture.

Michael Jordan quote talent

Team topologies refer to the structure and organization of teams within an organization. However, the culture of those teams is equally important in determining their success. A strong team culture can lead to a more efficient and effective development process, better communication, and higher quality software. In this blog, I will dive into how different types of team topologies can shape team culture. Team Topologies are built on four fundamental topologies:

1. Stream-aligned teams

Stream-aligned teams are organized around a specific stream of work, such as a product or feature. These teams are responsible for the end-to-end delivery of the stream, from development to testing to deployment. This type of topology promotes a culture of ownership and responsibility, where team members are encouraged to take ownership of their work and collaborate with others to deliver high-quality software.

2. Platform teams

Platform teams are responsible for building and maintaining the underlying infrastructure that supports the organization’s products and services. This includes things like databases, servers, and APIs. Platform teams enable stream-aligned teams to focus on delivering value to customers without worrying about the underlying infrastructure. This type of topology promotes a culture of collaboration, where different teams work together to build a cohesive system that supports the organization’s goals.

3. Enabling teams

Enabling teams support both stream-aligned and platform teams by providing expertise in areas such as security, testing, and automation. These teams help ensure the quality and consistency of the organization’s software. This type of topology promotes a culture of continuous improvement, where teams are encouraged to learn from each other and share knowledge to improve the quality of their work.

4. Complicated subsystem teams

Complicated subsystem teams are responsible for maintaining complex subsystems, such as machine learning algorithms or payment processing systems. These teams require specialized knowledge and expertise, and work closely with other teams to ensure that subsystems are integrated and functioning properly. This type of topology promotes a culture of expertise, where team members are encouraged to develop specialized skills and knowledge to better support the organization’s goals.

In a nutshell, team topologies are a critical component of building high-performance software teams. However, the culture within those teams is equally important in determining their success.

Like Michael Jordan said, teamwork and intelligence win championships. By utilizing the right team topology for your organization and promoting a culture of ownership, collaboration, continuous improvement, and expertise, you can build a team that is capable of achieving great things and delivering high-quality software.