The Power of Clear Communication: Lessons from Our Outdoor Team Building Challenge 

Team Building: Rescue the boy!

Table of Contents

In today’s fast-paced world, effective communication is the bedrock of successful software development. At Manao Software, we believe it is more than just a skill – it is the cornerstone of fostering robust client relationships and delivering exceptional projects. Recently, we participated in a unique outdoor challenge designed to reinforce the importance of clear communication within one of our teams. 

A Day of Challenges and Learning 

Our team-building event, facilitated by Insight Adventures, took place in the beautiful and inspiring setting of Huay Tung Tao. The main focus was on building trust, understanding diverse mindsets, and providing skillful feedback. Why? Because one of our company’s core virtues is understanding and we wanted to assess how well we embody this value in practice. The day was filled with a series of challenges, each carefully crafted by experienced facilitator and outdoor educator, Steffen Lohrmann, to test and enhance our communication skills in real-life scenarios that mirrored the pressures we face daily. 

One might ask, how is this related to software development. In most cases, project delivery repeatedly encounters the same types of issues. These issues are linked to the three cornerstones of project management: time, scope, and cost. These elements are constantly compromised by changing requirements, unrealistic deadlines, and poor planning on both sides. But what is the root cause of all these problems? We believe the answer is poor communication!

Communication Breakdowns and mismanaged expectations

We started our journey by setting up our expectations for the day. We wanted to emphasize teamwork, communication, and above all, fun. With everyone on the same page, we knew the day was set for success. The primary goal was not just to complete the tasks but to enjoy the process and learn from each other.

As the next step, we proceed with the orienteering challenge with a map in our hand. The orienteering course was designed to test not only our navigational skills but also our ability to work together under pressure.

Each location on the map presented a unique challenge, ranging from physical tasks to mental puzzles. Excitement grew as the team strategized and set off on our respective paths. Everything was going well until, just like in the course of project delivery, we encountered a real challenge: we missed a turn and headed to the wrong destination. From that point on, the scope changed—we had to climb back uphill, find where we went wrong, and then follow the correct path. Consequently, the deadline changed as well, with our return time doubling. This scenario is similar to real project delivery, where evolving client needs and additional features can lead to delays and increased costs. To manage this, we use Agile methodologies like Scrum, which emphasize iterative development and regular communication with clients, reflecting our commitment to clear communication. We employ Agile at Manao for every project (learn more about Agile). But what if it’s your own team that made the wrong turn?

To tell or not to tell! “This is the question!”

Now, as the project heads in the wrong direction, do you inform your client immediately, or do you continue, hoping you’ll find a way to resolve the issue later? This situation prompts a contemplation of honesty versus the fear of the consequences of revealing or concealing information.

Respect and transparency are two additional values we practice at Manao. There is no worse situation than not informing your client or Product Owner about an issue upfront. Why? Cause being upfront about issues with your client is crucial for maintaining trust, ensuring project success, and avoiding escalated problems, delays, cost overruns, reduced quality, client dissatisfaction, and strategic misalignment. Open and honest communication is a cornerstone of effective project management and a fundamental practice at Manao.

In the next half hour, the entire team climbed back to the point of the right turn, cheering each other on and offering support to keep going and avoid blame. Maintaining a positive attitude and completing the challenge were our main focuses!

This challenge served as a reminder of the power of teamwork and the importance of stepping outside our comfort zones. We left with a renewed sense of unity and a shared enthusiasm for future adventures.

Conflict resolution and overcoming problems

In the afternoon, we moved on to a series of team-building challenges aimed at conflict resolution and overcoming problems through collaboration and compromise. We were guided through various activities, ranging from navigating obstacle courses while blindfolded to solving complex problems as a team. These activities pushed our limits and taught us the importance of clearly articulating strategies, actively listening, and providing constructive feedback. The challenges underscored once again the crucial role that clear communication plays in overcoming obstacles and achieving goals efficiently.

Wrapping Up: Final Reflections and Moving Forward

To conclude the challenge, we gathered for final reflections. Participants adjusted the expectation matrix and reflected on team performance, providing each other with Start/Stop/Continue feedback based on their observations throughout the day. This turned out to be a simple but effective tool for reflection, constructive feedback, and improvement—something that can be easily taken back to the workplace and applied in daily professional life.

What strategies and tools do you use to enhance communication in both your professional and personal life?

Not sure what you need?

Feel free to reach out, so we can help you figure out what type of service best suits your business.

Latest news and updates

The Power of Clear Communication: Lessons from Our Outdoor Team Building Challenge 

This is a staging environment