Ground rules are statements of values and guidelines which a group establishes consciously to
help individual members to decide how to act. To be effective, ground rules must be clear,
consistent, agreed-to, and followed. Where articulated ground rules are missing, natural
behavior patterns often emerge spontaneously. These are referred to as norms.
Team ground rules define a behavioral model which addresses how individuals treat each other,
communicate, participate, cooperate, support each other, and coordinate joint activity. They may
be used to define and standardize team procedure, use of time, work assignments, meeting logistics,
preparation, minutes, discussion, creativity, reporting, respect and courtesyolving.
A team should create and adopt written ground rules during the first few organizing sessions.
The rules should be consulted and enforced through reminders and team process checks. They should
be added to and revised as needed.
Example of Team Groundrules
Our attitude and culture
- We treat each other with respect.
- We intend to develop personal relationships to enhance trust and open communication.
- We value constructive feedback. We will avoid being defensive and give feedback in
a constructive manner.
- We treat subcontractor and customer team members in the same way as contractor team members.
- We strive to recognize and celebrate individual and team accomplishments.
- As team members, we will pitch in to help where necessary to help solve problems and
catch-up on behind schedule work.
Communication and Decision-Making
- We will hold a regular weekly meeting on Tuesday at 2PM in Conference Room D.
- Additional meetings can
be scheduled to discuss critical issues or tabled items upon discussion
and agreement with the team leader.
- All team members are expected to
attend team meetings unless they are out of town, on vacation or sick. If
a team member is unavailable, he or she should have a designated,
empowered representative (another team member, a representative from their
functional organization, etc.) attend in their place.
- The team leader
can cancel or reschedule a team meeting if sufficient team members are
unavailable or there is insufficient subject matter to meet about.
team leader will publish and distribute an agenda by email by Noon Monday.
Team members are responsible for contacting the team leader or leaving a
voice message or email with any agenda items they want to include by 9AM
Monday. Agenda items can be added at the meeting with the concurrence of
- Meetings will start promptly on time. All members are expected
to be on-time. If, for extenuating circumstances a member is late, he/she
must catch-up on their own.
- An action item list with responsibilities
will be maintained, reviewed in meetings, and distributed with the meeting
- No responsibilities will be assigned unless the person be
assigned the responsibility accepts it. If a person to be given a
responsibility is not at meeting, the team leader must review that
assignment or action item with the person before the responsibility is
- The responsibility for taking and distributing meeting
minutes will rotate monthly among core team members.
- Meeting minutes
will be distributed within 24 hours after the meeting.
- We will emphasize
full discussion and resolution of issues vs. sticking to a timetable.
- One person talks at a
time; there are no side discussions
- Each person is given a chance to
speak their mind while at the same time respecting the group's time and
the meeting timetables. We will be brief and focus on facts, not opinions.
- We emphasize open and honest communication - there are no hidden
- We de-personalize discussion of issues - no attacks on people.
- We will listen, be non-judgmental and keep an open mind on issues until
it is time to decide.
- We emphasize balanced participation of all team
- We will emphasize collaboration and use consensus for important
decisions and issues. For less important issues, we will rely on the
subject matter expert with input from others. Planning and Management
will mutually commit to our team's objectives as stated in the team
charter or negotiate until we can make this mutual commitment.
- We accept
the responsibility and accountability along with the authority given to
- We will maintain the team work plan and schedule each month.
- If a
team member believes they are being asked to do a task outside the scope
of the team's charter,he/she will bring this to the attention of the team
leader for resolution.
- We will maintain awareness of customer-contractor
roles while being responsive to customer representative needs. Any
suggestions or direction we believe will constitute a scope change will be
handled through proper channels. We will avoid a constructive change
without proper documentation and authorization.
- When we pose an issue or
a problem, we will also try to present a solution.
- Team commitments
shouldn't be made lightly, but we will keep those that we do.
will focus sufficient time on team process and conduct process checks when
one member believes we are deviating from our ground rules.