When a team seems unable to make progress on a problem

Observation: When a team seems unable to make progress on a problem, the 3 most likely causes tend to be (in order of likelihood) –

1. Unclear problem statement

2. Misaligned incentives

3. Absence of structure (clear requirements, roles and responsibilities, meeting cadence, processes to hold people accountable)

While it is natural to jump to conclusions about competence and/or intentions, it is amazing how clear problem statements, aligned incentives, and well defined structure miraculously transform the productivity of a team.