What Are Team Norms? Why Do They Matter?

A Short and Simple Guide for 2023

Team norms are the shared expectations and standards for team members. They are the collective behaviors and attitudes that define a team's culture and help ensure everyone is on the same page. 

For SaaS companies, establishing practical team norms can help create a productive, efficient, and positive work environment.

Today, we'll discuss why team norms are essential, how to set practical team norms, and provide examples of standard team norms.

What Are Team Norms?

Team norms are the set of rules and regulations by which members of a team agree to abide by.

They can cover everything from how the team interacts with each other to how they approach their work. 

They should be clearly defined and communicated to all members of the group. 

Team norms can be either explicit or implicit, with explicit norms usually written down in a team charter or agreement. 

Examples of explicit team norms include:

  • Setting specific goals
  • Assigning tasks
  • Tracking progress
  • Creating team-building activities 

Implicit norms are unwritten rules that are understood by all members and often not discussed.

Examples of implicit team norms include:

  • Being respectful of each other's opinions 
  • Speaking up if something isn't right or doesn't feel right 
  • Being punctual for meetings
  • Valuing each other's contributions

It is essential to ensure that all team members know and follow the team norms. Doing so will help create a positive working environment and ensure everyone is on the same page. 

Reviewing the team norms is essential to ensure they are still relevant and that you're communicating changes to all members. This will help ensure that the team works effectively and efficiently.

What Are the Benefits of Team Norms?

Team norms offer some benefits to SaaS companies, including:

  • Better organization: Team norms provide structure and accountability for team members, helping ensure everyone is working towards the same goals. 
  • Improved collaboration: Team norms help promote cooperation among team members by setting expectations for how each member should behave and interact with others. 
  • A cohesive team: Establishing team norms also provide a sense of cohesion and unity, creating an environment of mutual respect and trust.
  • Less friction: Team norms can also help reduce conflict within the team, as they provide a clear set of expectations to which everyone is expected to adhere. This helps create a more harmonious working environment where team members are more likely to work together effectively. 

Additionally, team norms can foster a sense of ownership and responsibility among team members, as they are held accountable for their actions and contributions to the team.

How Can You Develop Effective Team Norms?

When establishing team norms, it's essential to consider the team size, the complexity of the tasks they'll be working on, and the personalities of the people involved. 

Define Goals and Values

Start by discussing the goals and values of the team, then create guidelines to ensure those goals are met.

When setting team norms, it's essential to ensure they are realistic, achievable, and flexible enough to accommodate change. It's helpful to have someone facilitate the discussion, helping to ensure all voices are heard and respected.

Once the team norms have been established, it's essential to ensure everyone is aware of them and understands their importance. 

Regularly review the means to ensure they are still relevant and practical, and make adjustments as needed. It's also essential to ensure that everyone is held accountable for following the norms and that any violations are addressed promptly and respectfully.

Set Guidelines for Team Norms

Once you've established what team norms your team should follow, you need to set guidelines for how they should be implemented. 

  • How will you make sure everyone understands the norms?
  • How will you ensure everyone is held accountable for following them? 
  • When and how often should the team review and discuss their norms?

Also, ensure everyone is held equally accountable for following the norms; explain the consequences if someone breaks the rules.

For instance, if being punctual to meetings is a team norm, explain that if someone shows up late without prior notice, they may be asked to leave the meeting.

Encourage Adherence to Team Norms

Encourage each member to take responsibility for ensuring their adherence to the norms. 

  • Provide regular feedback
  • Create rewards and recognition systems 
  • Provide a safe space for team members to discuss any issues that arise
  • Encourage open communication and collaboration 
  • Make sure the team members are aware of any changes to the norms

Also, ensure everyone on the team takes their role in upholding the norms seriously. This will help to ensure the norms are respected and adhered to, resulting in a more productive and efficient working environment. 

Common Pitfalls to Avoid When Establishing Team Norms

When establishing team norms, it's essential to avoid some common pitfalls, including:

  • Making them too rigid: Team norms should provide a framework for how the team works but should still be flexible enough to accommodate change.
  • Making them too vague: Be as specific as possible when setting team norms to ensure everyone is on the same page. 
  • Not discussing them: Make sure everyone is aware of the team norms and has had a chance to provide input.
  • Not holding everyone accountable: It's essential to ensure everyone is held equally responsible for following the norms.

Effective team norms can help create a more respectful and productive environment, so it's essential to ensure everyone is on board with them. With a bit of effort and planning, you can establish team norms that foster collaboration, respect, and accountability. 


As your team works together, it is essential to ensure everyone feels comfortable expressing their ideas and feedback. 

Encourage open discussion by setting aside time for each person to share their thoughts and provide constructive criticism without fear of judgment or retaliation.

Ultimately, team norms help to set expectations, create an environment that encourages collaboration and respect, and ensure everyone is held accountable for their actions.  

With a bit of effort and planning, you can create a set of team norms that are realistic, achievable, and flexible enough to accommodate change.


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