How to eliminate the most boring part of being a team lead

June 23rd, 2022
Vignir Gudmunds

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Elle is a team lead for a Payments Platform team at a mid-sized tech company. She's about to onboard Alex, a software engineer joining her team from another team. Elle is super excited to get Alex up-to-speed as soon as possible. Elle’s team embraced a hybrid way of working during the COVID pandemic, at which point even more of the team collaboration shifted online. Alex needs to gain access to a long list of applications, channels, documents, and platforms to hit the ground running.

In the last couple of years, Elle has created a comprehensive checklist with all the things she needs to request or update when a new team member joins:

  • IT ticket to update the team email group

  • IT ticket to add a couple of paid licenses for Alex to apps the team uses

  • Coordinate with Finance on team cost allocation change with Alex moving over

  • Coordinate with HR and make sure Alex is now marked in the Payments Platform team in the HR management system

Even with a cup of coffee in hand, that’s not the most energizing way to start the week. Elle hops into the team’s daily and tells Alex that he should be set up soon.

Two days go by and Elle is still waiting for IT to process her requests. Finance asked for a meeting to discuss team cost allocation, as Alex was incorrectly marked in the system prior to this move.

Elle to Alex on Slack: “I’ve pinged IT again, should be done soon”

In between meetings, Elle has been working on the other administrative tasks on her checklist to provide Alex access to things important for the Payments Platform team:

  • Calendar invites: Add Alex across all team ceremony invites

  • Slack channels: Add Alex to the team’s private and public channels, and a couple of initiative channels

  • Slack user groups: Add Alex to the team’s user groups for notifications on team mentions

  • Miro team projects: Add Alex to the dedicated Miro project for all the team’s boards

  • Jira team filters: Update the several filters in Jira that refer to team members and add Alex to them

  • Confluence space permissions: Make sure Alex has permission to make changes within the documentation space for the team

  • Confluence team overview page: Add Alex’s profile to the team home page, including profile picture, role, and email

  • list goes on..

Throughout the week Alex’s access rights are being gradually granted, until finally on Friday, all the IT requests, coordination and administrative tasks are done. Over the span of a full week, Elle and Alex spent a total of 6 hours combined chasing down tasks and tickets. That’s not even counting for the cost of context switching and time spent by support functions in the company.

“Sorry this took so long, Alex” messages Elle after the team’s Friday retro

Team changes = Administrative work

This story is ultimately about time being wasted by multiple people, with a team lead and a new team member stuck in the middle. While the story has made-up names, it comes from a real environment.

You know that pain, you know that friction. It’s the “death by a thousand cuts” that comes from doing “the work to manage the work”. It’s not energizing and it’s time we are not spending solving customer problems.

The fact of the matter is that people come and go. And not just people, teams come and go, too. All of these movements create work to manage the work.

Team leads have to carry most of this burden

Sure, it could be assigned to someone else in the team, but ultimately the team lead is on the hook.

This problem is only getting worse

In the 2021 Businesses at Work report by Okta (the access management provider), it was shared that the average number of apps deployed per customer has risen steadily across all industries and company sizes, but especially for tech companies. In the past three years, their average number of apps has increased by 57%, from 99 to 155.

More apps = more administrative work

From a team lead perspective, the burden has already increased and will continue to grow. Ensuring access to all relevant information and systems will take longer and information on your team will be outdated more often. Team members are not able to contribute as effectively as they’d wish.

Average number of SaaS appications per Okta customer

Our Vision

Our vision is that team leads should simply drag the icon of a team member from one team to another, for all of the administrative tasks to automatically be handled on the spot.

Just a drag and drop to automatically update authentication, access, permissions, and team member information in the jungle of IT apps and platforms.

Our goal is to remove all of the friction in the system, so that the administrative cost of team changes goes down to zero.

The Approach

Access management systems, such as Okta, Active Directory, OneLogin, and more, are used to securely store IT credentials for employees. These single-source-of-truth credentials are then used by employees to authenticate and access any of the apps and systems used within their organization.

While access management systems provide single-source-of-truth for employees and basic organizational groups, they do not have the specialization to eliminate team-related administrative burden.

Team admin layer

What’s missing is a robust intelligence layer for team administration between access management and the applications and systems used within your organization

This is where Outcome comes into the picture as a team platform.

A practical example - Calendar & Slack

Let’s return back to our story of Elle and Alex to demonstrate how team leads can use Outcome as their superpower. One of the many apps Elle needed to manually go and update things to get Alex up and running were Calendar & Slack.

The Calendar and Slack tasks on her checklist were:

  • Calendar invites: Add Alex across all team ceremony invites

  • Slack channels: Add Alex to the team’s private and public channels, and a couple of initiative channels

  • Slack user groups: Add Alex to the team’s user group for notifications on team mentions

Using Outcome, Elle simply drags Alex’s profile card over to the Payments Platform team, and voila, Alex is now part of the:

  • The Monday planning session invite

  • The Friday retro session invite

  • The bi-weekly product session invite

  • The monthly milestone session invite

  • #payments-platform-team private channel

  • #payments-platform-team-external public channel

  • @payments-platform-team user group

  • @commerce-tribe user group

The only thing Elle needed to do for this to work so smoothly was to select the triggers and rules that suited her and the team for Calendar and Slack.

This is of course just one small example. Once you multiply team changes over time with all of the administrative tasks across apps and systems, Elle and her fellow team leads will be saving a lot of time.


If you are interested about Outcome, you can:

If you think Outcome would be valuable in your organization:

Or reach out to us at hello [at] outcome.io or to me personally at vignir [at] outcome.io


Written ByVignir Gudmunds

Multiple award-winning entrepreneur, author of the highly acclaimed book Team Topologies book and a professor at UNY.

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