Team bonding in misery

The Culture Code talks about how great teams have great, painful bonding activities. Take this quote, for example:

One of the best things I’ve found to improve a team’s cohesion is to send them to do some hard, hard training. There’s something about hanging off a cliff together, and being wet and cold and miserable together, that makes a team come together.

Dave Cooper, Navy SEAL

The book talks through lots of examples of great teams finding their own “pure, painful intersection of vulnerability and interconnection.”

I’ve thought a lot about this for software development. What’s an engineering team’s version of “hanging off a cliff together, and being wet and cold and miserable together”?

Is it a major site outage? A near-impossible deadline? A marathon mob programming session on a really intense bug? Or maybe it’s not related to the job at all. Maybe an engineering team can go to an offsite where they’re literally wet and cold and miserable.

Of course, most engineers I know would be updating their resumes if they were purposely subjected to any of those. But there’s something there, and I want to find it.

Got any suggestions? Email me.

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