Social contracts for engineering teams – finding the right glue to help your teamwork stick

location_city Sydney schedule Nov 28th 12:10 - 12:40 PM place Grand Ball Room 1

A social contract is how individuals become a team. Whether your teams know it, they’re already working under an implicit social contract – but until it’s made explicit there’s no way to be sure whether everyone has the same understanding of what it is.

By using social contract theory, you can build a how-we-work agreement that is clear, visible and jointly owned by everyone on the team. This is a great way to reinforce the aspects of teamwork that you want to hold to as you scale, and provide a platform to launch into high-performance mode.

This talk will give you some clarity about how you can apply social contract theory in a way that works with groups of engineers. It looks at how to explain the value proposition in a way that gets buy-in from even your most technically-focused people, and also consider how the process and outcome can address some common dysfunctions of engineering teams.

The session will leave you with effective techniques for leading your engineers through the process of building and maintaining a social contract (with real-life examples).


Outline/Structure of the Talk

  1. What’s a social contract?
    An intro to social contract theory
  2. What a social contract is not
  3. Do we need a social contract?
    And how do we convince engineers that it's worthwhile?
  4. When’s the right time?
  5. How do we do it?
    With real-life examples of approaches that work in an engineering context
  6. What next?

Learning Outcome

You’ll come away with an understanding of the principles of social contracts and some strategies for building one with your engineers.

Target Audience

People leaders

Prerequisites for Attendees




schedule Submitted 2 years ago

Public Feedback