We do not need superheroes

25-minute Talk

Experience stories about the relation between teamwork and software quality.

Virtual Pass session


2:45 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. Thursday 21st


Room F1 - Track 1: Talks


Everybody who works in teams


  • Some heroes are secretly villains, making them bad team players. Some tips to recognize and deal with these ‘heroes’.
  • What harm can these ‘heroes’ do to a team?
  • What can you do in your team to facilitate and accomplish great teamwork?
  • How software quality is impacted by teamwork.

How some superheroes are secretly villains, ruining your team and the quality of your software!

Can’t figure out why all the quality measures you try to implement, don’t seem to help? Dreading to go to work because you don’t seem to get through to your team? All the teambuilding stuff you're trying only seems to make the team even more disconnected? Can’t seem to solve problems as a team? Everyone is always busy trying to put out fires on their own? 

You might be suffering from a superhero problem. A good example is the HBO documentary about Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls: only when Phil Jackson became coach and stopped treating Jordan as a super star, the team started to win the NBA titles. The documentary tells a clear story: heroes are bad team players. But Marvel tells us a different story: true heroes fight as a team that respects each member's strengths and compensates for their flaws. It’s actually the villains that like to fight alone, because they don’t accept anyone else at the top. So some heroes might actually be villains in disguise!

In this presentation Anne and Huib will share their experiences in teamwork. The story starts at a project where they both worked on the same team. This team had superheroes, but did not perform very well. What went wrong? Looking back, what could have been done differently? We’ll zoom in on aspects of excellent teamwork and what kept the team from performing better. This way we will identify the villains posing as superheroes and learn from it together.

Then we compare this project with other experiences we have had. What are the key differences? What did we see and experience that made the teams we worked with perform better and made our work so much more fun? How does teamwork have an impact on software quality? And how do you sniff out the villains from the heroes? You’ll find out in this talk!



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