Extreme Teams


Book Title:    Extreme Teams
Author:  Robert Bruce Shaw
Publisher:  American Management Association
List Price:  $27.95/15.37
Format:  hardback/e-book   
Publication Date:   2017
ISBN: 978-0-8144-3717-9/978-08144-3718-6
Reviewer:     Heather Creer-Rygalski, PMP
Review Date:   November 2017



What do Extreme Teams have in common? Demanding work hours, lofty goals, control over work and play hours are just a few items Extreme Teams in the book adhere to because of the successes the companies have seen. While the companies shared in the book are seen as successful today, all of the leaders agreed they made mistakes along the way. Only through continuously improving their processes have they continued to prosper and find suitable employees for their Extreme Teams.

Overview of Book’s Structure

Extensive chapters are interwoven with examples of Extreme Teams of well-known companies including: Whole Foods, Zappos, Patagonia, Pixar and Airbnb. The companies have all shared their successes in addition to past mistakes.

Revolutionizing the Way We Work, Foster a Shared Obsession, Value Fit over Capabilities and Take Comfort in Discomfort are just a few of the chapter titles. Looking at the titles only, one might wonder does this really work, or is this real? It does and has for the Extreme Teams but the ideas are not for everyone and will not work for every company.  Organizations need to create their own goals, missions etc. best suited for them to deliver “extraordinary results”.

Leaders within the companies outlined in the book, took charge of the goals and shared those goals with middle management. Middle management then shared the goals with those within their teams. Isn’t that the way goals are supposed to be shared? Of course, but how many times is it really communicated down through the ranks efficiently and effectively where all teams are embracing the goals and visions of the company? How many within middle management instead have their own agendas and those in turn are shared with the teams?

For companies with middle management with their own agendas, they are quickly replaced with individuals whose ideas are aligned to the goals of the organization. Success of the Extreme Teams is all dependent upon the leaders of the organizations having a feel for the pulse of company. Without knowing what is being shared throughout the company, can any organization continue to be successful?


Each industry has its own set of norms and standards and the Extreme Teams while using the standards set for the industry, changed the way companies looked at norms. Does your company have full disclosure of employee salaries including the C-Levels? Whole Foods does. Does your company “fully engage callers, with the goal of meeting their needs whenever possible?” (pg. 79)  Zappos does. There’s a story of a Zappos executive who told some colleagues in a meeting he could call into his call center at any time and get unsurpassable customer service even if the question he had asked did not pertain to his company. Others in the room made a bet that it couldn’t be done. Not only did he call into the call center asking a question that had nothing to do with Zappos, he also won the bet all because of the extensive customer oriented training of the Zappos call center employees.


To read entire book review, click here


About the Reviewer

Heather Creer-Rygalski

Texas, USA


Heather Creer-Rygalski
, PMP has more than 20 years of experience working in training and development departments both in the corporate arena and within the public school system using her project management training for all of her projects. She has a BA in Psychology and a M.Ed., both from Texas State University

Heather can be contacted at [email protected]

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PMI Dallas Chapter. Authors and publishers provide the books to PM World; books are delivered to the PMI Dallas Chapter, where they are offered free to PMI members to review; book reviews are published in the PM World Journal and PM World Library.  PMI Dallas Chapter members can keep the books as well as claim PDUs for PMP recertification when their reviews are published.  Chapter members are generally mid-career professionals, the audience for most project management books. 

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