Alex Ivanov

Team Canvas Session

by .  
90 - 1502 - 8 Medium

The Team Canvas is Business Model Canvas for teamwork. It is an effective technique to facilitate getting teams aligned about their goals, values and purposes, and help team members find their role on the team.



Team Canvas is a strategic framework that helps bring team members on the same page. It is made to align teams, increase cohesion and performance and to create productive team culture, fast. Team Canvas works across multiple touchpoints: 

  • creating a team; 
  • clarifying goals and addressing overall team performance (e.g. when you feel stuck as a team, or when you need to get a lot of stuff done); 
  • growing and onboarding new team members; 
  • general alignment sessions (recommended every 2-3 months).




    Download Team Canvas template and mobile-friendly How To at

    Running the session

    Introduce the team canvas as a tool to align the team members and get better at understanding goals, roles and values of your team.

    Go through each step with the team, making sure you ask the questions for each segment. Encourage people to write their answers on stickies and talk about them with the team. There are fields that all team should agree on: 1. People and Roles; 2. Goals; 4. Purpose; 5. Values; 9. Rules and culture. The rest of the fields can be filled individually, with no particular need to be agreed upon.

    1. People & Roles [5 minutes]

    Ask people to put their names on stickies, as well as their roles. If a person has multiple roles, use separate post-its.


    • What are our names?
    • What are the roles we have in the team?
    • How are we called as a team?


    • Max: CEO; Marie: Design & Programming
    • Name of the team: BoldCar

    2. Common goals [10 minutes]

    Ask the team to agree on common goals.


    • What you as a group really want to achieve? What is our key goal that is feasible, measurable and time-bounded?


    • Become the leading car sharing company in our region by 2017.
    • Create a 100M company in the area of Internet of Things by fall 2016.

    3. Personal goals [5 minutes]

    Ask the team members about the individual goals they have for the project.


    • What are our individual personal goals for this project?
    • Are there personal agendas that we want to open up?


    • Become more confident at iOS development [Marie]

    4. Purpose [10 minutes]

    Ask the team to go one step beyond their common goal, and ask them why they do what they do.


    • Why are we doing what we are doing in the first place?
    • What is something more important, which makes us pursue our common goal?
    • Examples:
    • Create a positive impact on people's lives through social innovation
    • Make people’s life easier and stress-free through internet of things innovation

    5. Values [10 minutes]

    Ask the team what are the core values - the most important principles - that they want to share within the team. The team should agree on values, so everyone accepts the final set.


    • What do we stand for?
    • What are guiding principles?
    • What are the common values that we want to be at the core of our team?


    • Trust
    • Creativity
    • Quality
    • Transparency
    • Mutual understanding
    • Equality
    • Respect

    6. Strengths & Assets [15 minutes]

    Ask the team to share the key pieces of skills (both hard skills and soft skills) and assets available within the team. Don't dismiss ‘insignificant’ stuff. You might find that the team has capacity for martial arts, running marathons or persuading people. Encourage people to share something about themselves, as well as note important qualities they see in their teammates.


    • What are the skills we have in the team that will help us to achieve our goals?
    • What are interpersonal/soft skills that we have?
    • What are we good at, individually and as a team?


    • Coding (iOS/Python/etc.)
    • Design
    • Being devoted and driven
    • Being visionary
    • Energy
    • Sales & pitching

    7. Weaknesses & Development Areas [15 minutes]

    Ask the team to share the key weaknesses and areas for improvement that they see in themselves, as well as obstacles they face as a team. Make an accent on reporting what people can find in themselves, rather than discussing other’s weaknesses.


    • What are the weaknesses we have, individually and as a team?
    • What our teammates should know about us?
    • What are some obstacles we see ahead us that we are likely to face?


    • Easily distracted [Marie]
    • Can be arrogant [Max]
    • Lack of structured communication [general], etc.

    8. Needs & Expectations [10 minutes]

    Ask the team to express the needs they have in order to be successful. Think of this as a follow up to previous two sections: once team members expressed their strengths and weaknesses, they should be able to express the needs they have to amplify strengths and be at their best despite the weaknesses.


    • What does each member of the team need to be successful?
    • How could the team help each member with their needs?


    • Some «me time»
    • More clear weekly status updates
    • Help and coaching
    • Trust
    • Fun
    • Stability

    9. Rules & Activities [10 minutes]

    Ask the team to agree on common rules and activities. Think of this as of outcome of the previous sections: a concrete set of rules and activities they want to implement.


    • What are the rules we want to introduce after doing this session?
    • How do we communicate and keep everyone up to date?
    • How do we make decisions?
    • How do we execute and evaluate what we do?


    • Keeping things within group confidential
    • Weekly status updates
    • Communication over Slack + Skype for calls
    • Dinners together every second week (Max as organizer)
    • Workday: starting from 9 to 10, meetings start at 10
    • Keeping workday to 8 hours, except when it’s needed to shorten it a bit towards more

    Wrap up [5 minutes]

    As you close The Team Canvas workshop, ask the team members to tell about one single most important insight that they gained during the workshop.

    Tips for running this activity online

    • Pick an online whiteboard tool that allows to use a large, zoomable canvas.
    • Set up each topic at a different area of the board, spread them out just like you would do it on a the walls of a room.
    • Invite participants to zoom in and visit each section and add their ideas.
    • If you’re not using an online whiteboard, we’d recommend using a collaboration tool such as Google Docs to collect the information for each step under a separate heading. Invite everyone into the same document but be very clear in regards to editing rights.
    • When facilitating group discussion, we’d recommend that participants use non-verbal means to indicate they’d like to speak. You can use tools like Zoom’s nonverbal feedback tools, a reaction emoji, or just have people put their hands up.The facilitator can then invite that person to talk. 


    Source: Team Canvas - Created by  Alex Ivanov and Mitya Voloshchuk

    Alex is a strategic designer, prototyper and facilitator with 8 years experience in digital and service design. Alex is IDEO alum and Hyper Island graduate. He helped to launch 50+ websites, mobile apps and ad campaigns in various teams, building hands-on knowledge of group development.

    Mitya is a human capital consultant with 10 years experience in leadership development, personality assessment and team coaching. He is MBA Candidate at Berkeley Haas School of Business, specializing in organization development. Mitya helps startup teams to get from zero to flow.

    Comments (7) (4.8 avg / 5 ratings)

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    • Excellent. I should use it sometime. Thanks.

      about 1 month ago
    • This was great! Everyone enjoyed the activity and then sharing their art and their insights. I came up with questions related to resilience and loved what people shared. I wish I could have recorded it all.

      8 months ago
    • Loved this and thanks so much for sharing. I used this very recently and it was so successful. My only thought for next time is to start with purpose and move that from number 4 to number 1 or 2 (after roles).

      8 months ago
    • Used this. It was great. Thank you.

      over 2 years ago
    • Nicely done.

      about 3 years ago
    • used during a workshop to establish the "team identity". very powerful

      almost 5 years ago
    • Sounds excellent . I plan to use it in my upcoming workshop. Will share more feedback then

      almost 5 years ago