Chapter 7: Foming a Team – It’s Easier Together

The key to feminine power lies in togetherness and in sharing knowledge and resources. This requires cultivating the relational level, the “we.”

Software development works best in self-organized, congenial teams. The complexity of software systems mirrors the complexity of globalized companies and the world. In this environment, a lone wolf can’t achieve much. Teams that are truly self-organizing have a well-functioning relational level. This is a feminine, Yin quality.

In the last decade, I had the opportunity to observe many brilliant Scrum teams. Scrum is an agile framework known in software development but also used in other areas as a framework for self-organized collaboration. Scrum teams require a lot of Yin energy to not only function as a team but also drive creativity and innovation. The key is intuition and community. This often leads to imperfection and chaos. To tame this, we need love and reconciliation. All of these are feminine qualities.

I’ve also observed many Scrum teams that only integrated masculine qualities. It’s about structure and action. Predefined task lists are systematically completed. Everything runs like clockwork on an assembly line. The relational level is excluded. These groups are not real teams but a collection of individual fighters. Each works for themselves, tackling their tasks to earn individual recognition and the highest incentives, much like grades in school. These are all Yang qualities. The result is that Scrum is perceived by participants as a method in which the control net is tightened in ever smaller sprints. Some even refer to it as “Dark Scrum.” It’s a symptom of dominating Yang forces.

A good team maintains the synergy of masculine and feminine qualities. A well-defined product with clear requirements and goals then encounters a team that can live its creative chaos during implementation.

Even though women of my generation have asserted themselves in the workplace and internalized masculine principles, I repeatedly observe that women are stronger together and need each other more than men do. Feelings of loneliness and isolation are often expressed by women. Accomplishing something together and working congenially is in the nature of women. I’m not saying that men can’t or don’t want to do this. For women, it’s an important need. The relational level, which is about connection and belonging, is a yearning factor.

How can women create this place of support and co-creativity for themselves? They have many bad experiences with feelings of being used and abused. On our journey to independence and self-reliance, we got to know the shadows of loneliness, betrayal, and isolation. To ally ourselves with others to be stronger together, it’s necessary to first reconnect with our own desires and needs. In the second step, we can simultaneously stay true to ourselves AND maintain empathy with the other person. This way, we can preserve our uniqueness and co-create something new with the group.

The autonomy of the individual is a great achievement of modernity. In earlier Western cultures and even today in many indigenous societies, individual differentiation is not desired, and belonging is threatened. Therefore, many people in our culture react allergically to sharing knowledge and co-developing something together. Knowledge is power and is guarded. Specialization secures one’s position. The transition to self-organized teams, where the sum is greater than the individual parts, both emotionally and mentally, involves the ability to be unique within a whole, similar to an orchestra playing a symphony. The ability to simultaneously keep one’s own boundaries in view and cooperate in synergy with the group while respecting and mitigating the distance between each other is a skill that needs to be trained. It’s about being in oneself, taking the other person empathically into account and respecting and mitigating the distance between each other.

Feminine energy is important for the digital age. Women long to express their feminine side.

Women should connect with other women who want to make their feminine contribution in times of global change when we need the tools of the digital age to connect and find a new togetherness. To do this, we need the gifts of feminine power.

The Feminine Agility model works with groups so that especially women have a place to support each other. “You cannot bloom by yourself” – I learned this from Claire Zammit and the Feminine Power approach.

Question: Do you have a network of women that strengthens you and goes beyond the context of friends? What would such a group of connected women bring to you? Where could you find members for such a group?