How to Manage a Team: Techniques

You can choose how to manage your teams, but here are some tips to get started!

Creating Good Team Routines AKA Scrumology

Create your routine to guide your team towards success. We don't care about strict rules on project management, but we care about good routines adapted to the team's needs.

First Week: Exploration & Learning

This week is a bit exceptional, because we still need to get to know the teams and the projects!

Focus on exploration and the bigger picture. To get some examples on how to do that, visit the Coaching cases: Get to Know Your Team and Get to Know Your Partner & Project.

Create a first learning opportunity during the hackathon in week 1 (AKA making mistakes).

  • Learn about the project: pick something about the project that is important to the partner, and where your team would benefit in learning together. Set a goal together like "implement this technology", "find out if your target group wants to use that" or "combine this dataset with the other one". Use this technique of defining what you'll learn for the week during the other upcoming three weeks.

  • Learn about working together as a team: it's a good time to start scoping and estimating. Almost every team will declare there wasn't enough time to finish what they started! We have our own version of scrum poker, scrumoji™️, that is highly suitable for an osoc edition. It can reveil how confident everyone is about the tasks you've set up in the scope for your hackathon. You can use this during the week as well.

  • Learn about pitching: The team will get two opportunities to pitch in week one already; and they'll only get better at it. Encourage (but don't force) everyone to try it!

All Weeks: Build Good Habits

Get that rhythm going;

  • Plan what you'll do at the start of the week, and what you'll deliver on Thursday (define weeks with themes as epics or milestones as you will) – based on the vision you've learnt about in week 1. Scoping sessions are useful here. Depending on your team and project, you'll know what's best for your team. Define who does what.

    • Everyone needs to feel comfortable with the scope and tasks at hand. As mentioned before, you can use scrumoji to reveil how confident everyone is about the tasks you've set up together.

  • Check-in with each other every day

    • Most people do stand-ups at the start of the day to see what everybody is up to and where they are stuck.

    • Make sure your team knows when they are expected to show up, and what they are supposed to do. Get some examples of how to do those stand-ups at How to project manage.

    • You can do multiple stand-ups, even at noon; depending on what your teams need. Some teams also like doing stand-downs – this creates the opportunity to

    • You can also do stand-downs at the end of the day, to make sure you know everyone leaves the chat with confidence and won't mull about everything at night; so they can start the day fresh.

  • If there's a other coaches helping you out, have students help you with writing a summary at the end of the day of what (didn't) happen – so that the people that weren't there are up-to-speed immediately.

  • Test what's made. Not just in code. Every week. We need real people to use what's been created and we want it to be valuable to them.

  • Pitch what's made. Every Thursday, you'll get the opportunity to pitch!

  • Check in and adapt.

    • At the end of week 1, 2 and 3 it would be good to see how people did and how they felt with a retrospective – so you can do things better the week after.

    • To make sure people learn from their estimations, you can compare their estimations from during the start of the week (scrumoji™️) to the outcome. Now is the time to see if the end-goal is still feasible, communicate with your partner, and see where you can adapt. Next time they'll probably want do overestimate, rather than underestimate.

    • Depending on what type of project you have and what the relationship is with your partner, go to them with maybe some new suggestions or ideas based on the newfound insights of the week. You'll get the opportunity during the client meetings on Tuesday, or via mail. They should feel comfortable as well!

Last Week: Documentation

You can keep using the techniques you use for the other weeks, only the outcome of that week should be focused on finishing up their project, documenting everything, the Delivery Document and on their Pitch.

If you figured out what to do better in the future, write it down in the delivery document so the next team can hit te ground running!


Ice Breakers

The first day is awkward. One of the goals of the first day is to get to know your team members. Discover why in Get to Know Your Team; find the techniques here.

Gather the team(s) you're leading. Play a game or have a list of questions available so you can get to know each other. Some examples:

  • Let your team members take a prop with them that says something about themselves. This requires informing them beforehand.

  • Let your team members make a short presentation of things they've made in school (and outside school, something they're proud of). This requires informing them beforehand.

  • Prepare a list of questions that can break the ice

    • What's your name?

    • What is your top skill?

    • What is your favourite food?

    • What is the one thing we should know about you?

36 Questions

This is a super lovely awkward game, used and loved by coach Rutger's teams in the past, that helps melt the ice with laser power: How to fall in love (or make your love even stronger).

Show Your Portfolio

Have students present themselves. What can I do, what can I help you with? What project are you most happy about? Why?

Need more ideas? Drop a line in the discord coaches channel!

How to Project Manage

After brainstorms and scoping sessions we need to plan for disaster, divide work and follow up on that work!

Time stamps

3 Brainstorm Ideas + 2 Bonus Adaptions

We go through a couple of ideas to refresh your mind! Feel free to adapt everything to your liking.

Extended Disney Brainstorm

We walk you through each step of a Disney Brainstorm, [adapted, there are many versions] and give you extra tips and tricks.

How To Do a Scoping Session

Scoping sessions get everybody aligned on what is going to built, why and when. It's like sprinkling fairy dust on a team.

Scrum Poker

Osoc is too short to do actual scrum poker usually – but we have a very good alternative called...

Scrumoji poker™️

Select 5 (or more) estimoji's from your pile of osoc cards that you received at the beginning of osoc. For example:

  • Thumbs up

  • Thumbs down

  • Exhausted

  • Happy hearts

  • Poop (Hankey)

For every task you have set out the team to do, they can select one card to express how they feel about the task. You can use it to express how you feel about time, effort, and even unknowns. This gives you an idea of the general mood!

Michiel invented this project management gem.

Retrospective: How To Vent, Improve and Replenish the Team


"Imagine everything burning down and everyone going to hell, and then go about your merry way and build it anyways."

Nobody has tried this before, but let us know if you did.

More Good Resources

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