Thoughts on Team Topologies

Team Topologies is a 2019 book written by Matthew Skelton and Manuel Pais

I include myself amongst those who have longed for a way to better articulate how firms can enable more outcome-focused teams.

So it’s been rewarding to have Team Topologies help me order my thinking to enable organisations to better support customer-facing teams. Such thinking will help those teams better serve their customers and deliver their organisation’s mission.

What Team Topologies says

Pardon the lockdown hair style!

We need to design our organisation around team-first principles. Chiefly we should design around teams’ cognitive load. Cognitive load meaning the mental effort being used at any one time.

Invariably the products & services an organisation creates is determined by its structure and its internal communication lines. This follows Conway’s Law. In a consultative manner, we should work with the law by altering team dynamics, structure and communication lines to create the desired products and services.

We should work with Conway’s Law by altering team dynamics, structure and communication lines to create the desired products and services.

Team Topologies offers a sophisticated mechanism to examine, design and improve team and organisation design.

There are four team topologies (i.e. types of team)

This is achieved through close attention to team topologies (i.e. types of team), team responsibilities and collaboration modes. Ultimately this is to orientate the organisation to support teams to deliver a continuous flow of value.

There are four team types. Two of which are stream-aligned teams (i.e customer-facing teams) and Platform teams whose raison d’être is to support stream-aligned teams with reusable services with minimal friction.

My Take-Aways

Counter-intuitively, where appropriate, we need to reduce collaboration. For example, a platform team needs to provide an easy-to-consume service for customer-facing teams; this shouldn’t necessitate in-depth collaboration. This will allow the customer-facing team to focus more on their customer mission.

To help organisations realise their mission, Team Topologies helps standardise the ingredients for team and organisation design. Metaphorically speaking, these ingredients are not for a standard meal plan, but more for a test kitchen. A test kitchen where organisations can continuously discover how customer-facing teams should be supported by other team types and the leadership team.

Metaphorically speaking, the ingredients described in Team Topologies are not for a standard meal plan, but more for a test kitchen. A test kitchen where organisations can continuously discover how to support customer-facing teams.

Dean Latchana

Closing thoughts

Team Topologies will help foster the right mindset and means to help organisations re-orientate to support customer-facing teams become more outcome-focused, better serve customers and deliver the organisation’s mission.

It’s given me the language, ingredients and confidence to better articulate my own experiences to help my clients achieve success.

Kudos to Matthew Skelton and Manuel Pais (Team Topologies) for authoring Team Topologies.

The 4Rs Cycle for COVID-19 business recovery

Firms can make use of the 4Rs Cycle to plan and execute their COVID-19 business recovery. As uncertainty continues, cycle through the steps:

  1. RE-STABILISE: Return to revenue by developing a cutdown operation and offerings.
  2. RELATIONSHIPS: To regain customers’ confidence, firms must demonstrate they’re taking extra measures at every touchpoint. Create goodwill & build lasting partnerships across the supply-chain.
  3. RESILIENCE: The world has changed, so reshape the firm through rapid experimentation of new products and services.
  4. RESTRUCTURE: Firms should restructure based on an assessment of their experiences and survival strategies.

Contact me ( to learn how to organise and adapt your business recovery plan.

Download and share a 4Rs Cycle infographic

Closing the Entrepreneurial Gap


When organisations are often too ponderous to innovate, what proven approaches exist to bridge the internal gap between the opposing needs of entrepreneurialism and operationalism?

This talk will explore emerging approaches that utilise the internal tensions between innovators and conservative communities. We’ll explore the importance of designing for team structures and communication pathways that are driven by cognitive load, social capital and end-to-end value creation.

These approaches create the conditions that will support risk-taking, enable greater agility and increase market competitiveness.

The Closing the Entrepreneurial Gap talk will describe how leaders should create space where entrepreneurs can be protected from the operators who may impose conditions and procedures poorly designed for the innovation.


  • The rate of organisational adaptability must be greater than the market’s
  • The barriers to innovation, such as operational culture, stifles the emergence of entrepreneurialism
  • The myths and mistakes organisations make when attempting to create innovation and alignment
  • Utilising the natural tension between traditionalists and entrepreneurs to create lasting innovation
  • Creating end-to-end value using team topologies which considers cognitive load and clear collaboration lines
  • Research and personal stories of how organisations have overcome scepticism and have achieved innovation and greater business agility

Talk format

Duration: Ideally 60 minutes.

It can be delivered remotely or in-person.

Workshop Dates