The Secret of Growing Teams

Ranjitha R
Walmart Global Tech Blog
5 min readJul 12, 2021


In one of my projects, I was struggling to take the next step towards building high-performance teams. The team trusted me and each other, they were open and feared less in sharing their thoughts. We were sharing our problems, bottlenecks and were having a sense of what all hiccups are holding us back.

But, the issues were like the traffic jam in the junction, there was chaos in every direction. I struggled to see a pattern.

One weekend my daughter asked me if she can prepare the tea for me, I said Yes. She came back with a nice cup of tea and a smile expecting recognition. I took a sip and I realized that it was not what it should have been. However being a good mom, I did pat her back and told her that she cannot put so much sugar in it, pat came a reply that I did not make myself clear “how much” when she prepared. That was a eureka moment for me to understand ‘CLARITY’. Such a simple noun and so deep is its meaning.

I had answers to my office problems in a single word.


In Simple words, Clarity is being free from ambiguity.

How do you identify a team which lacks clarity

  1. The team is highly capable but not able to raise the bar in their work.
  2. The team is too busy to pick a work outside sprint but comes back in retro that they kept waiting during the sprint.
  3. The team feels they are not completely happy with the work.
  4. The team spends time running around to close their stories.
  5. The team has ideas but does not want to share them.
Clarity Source —

As Sadhguru says — Confidence without clarity is a disaster, I set out the 10 days(Role Clarity+ Roadmap)-30 days(Execution Clarity)-60 days(Step Ahead) plan to solve the issue.

Different pillars of clarity


Irrespective of the stage your project is in when a new team member joins or the project gets started, ensure that he/she knows what their role is and what are the expectations from them.

Be clear on

1. Day-to-day responsibilities.

2. What feature they own.

3. What they are responsible for irrespective of the work being done by others.

Seldom do we confuse ourselves with the job(Grade) expectations with the actual work a person does in the project. Our day-to-day responsibilities might/might not be in line with the job role a person is hired for based on the current project state.


Often we make the team clear of their responsibilities individually but as a team, they lack the transparency of steps, workflows, and process of collaboration between them.

Create WOW(Ways of Working) with the team and have them on the same page as you

1. Provide clarity to the team on the workflows — Who owns the signoff designs, reviews, quality, UX, etc, what is the review workflow, What grade of quality is needed before work is deemed done, etc

While you do this, it is important to provide an environment for team members to showcase themselves and not become top-heavy hierarchy. This will help the team look at each other in terms of their responsibilities and not as the tag they have.

Step Ahead

While it is all rosy to have the present well defined if we are aiming to take the next step then —

A clarity on what is next helps the team know plan their role and steps to reach the goal.

Product Vision:

1. The whole team should be clear on the vision of the product — What next for this quarter, half-year, and the next year.

a. With virtual teams, it is advisable to have it in one central place that is visible to EVERYONE(leadership, execution team, management, etc)

b. The vision sheet should have all the product features(tech/product/debt) well defined, a target date, delivery status documented.

2. When there is a change, this single source of truth should get reflected immediately with a reason for the change.

Individual Goals

Individual Clarity

While product vision is good, a vision for an individual is the motivating factor for most humans. Having goals that are measurable and aligned to the strategy make them more compelling.


Re-assess your strategy at frequent intervals to measure the ambiguity index of your team.

A simple anonymous survey with answers as “Faces(Happy -> Sad)” will do the needful.

  1. I am aware of the product roadmap for this year. — VISION
  2. I am aware of what I need to do to do in my current role. — ROLE CLARITY
  3. I am aware of my next expectations for this year. — GOALS

How did it conclude

While I tried to bring the changes, role and execution clarity were the toughest to implement. Few challenges that I faced

1. Reality hit heard to few team members who were aligned more to grade than the actual responsibilities.

2. Hesitance in accepting the sign-off workflow.

It required more and more 1:1’s and a trusted collaboration to align personal growth goals and project goals on the same page.

I also needed to ensure that the team trusts the overall process by being there for them when they were struggling to adapt.

Take away

With so much clarity needed, do I think I can bring everything on paper? It is a difficult process, while there will be sponsors for the change there will be many detractors as well.

It is not smooth when we open up everything, there will be disappointments, ego clashes BUT there will be fewer gossips and less time spent on issues that can be avoided.

This exercise is an ongoing process and while you bring in clarity, empathize with the team that change is also bound to change. While you bring in clarity, be sensible on the filter you apply when you bring out the information in open.