Turning People into Teams:
Rituals and Routines That Redesign How We Work

Now available in: Print Edition | eBook | PDF | Audiobook | Digital Toolkit

A digital image of the cover of the book “Turning People Into Teams: Rituals and Routines That Redesign How We Work” by David Sherwin and Mary Sherwin.

A digital image of the cover of the book “Turning People Into Teams: Rituals and Routines That Redesign How We Work” by David Sherwin and Mary Sherwin.



Today's teams want more alignment among their members, better decision-making processes, and a greater sense of ownership over their work. This can be easy, even fun, if you have the right rituals.

Rituals are group activities during which people go through a series of behaviors in a specific order. They give teams the ability to create a collective point of view and reshape the processes that affect their day-to-day work. In Turning People into Teams, you'll find dozens of practical rituals for finding a common purpose at the beginning of a project, getting unstuck when you hit bottlenecks or brick walls, and wrapping things up at the end and moving on to new teams.

Customizable for any industry, work situation, or organizational philosophy, these rituals have been used internationally by many for-profit and not-for-profit organizations. By implementing just a few of these rituals, a team can capture the strengths of each individual for incredible results, making choices together that matter.




Turning People into Teams is a treasure trove of exercises to help your team work better together and accomplish more, no matter what discipline you work in. I look forward to sharing this book with leaders in design, product, and engineering.”

—Katie Dill, Vice President of Design, Lyft

“From strengthening relationships when forming new teams to project delivery and evaluation, the rituals and routines in Turning People into Teams will level up your project management process and guide you to the best possible outcomes.”

—Leslie Lindo, Director of Community Engagement, Business Alliance for Local Living Economies

“I love the Sherwins’ articulation of how rituals can be used for real strategic advantage. What I love even more is that using rituals can be one of the most inexpensive, rapid ways to drive meaningful change in your organization.”

—Linda Quarles, Director, Strategy + Organizational Design, frog

“In Turning People into Teams, the Sherwins equip teams with the context and exercises needed to help them understand each other, break down barriers, and align on long-term goals. Using these exercises with my company’s cross-disciplinary teams of designers, engineers, product managers, and data scientists has already led to several breakthroughs in how we identify goals, share feedback, and work together.”

—Patrick Weiss, Director of Product Design, Omada Health

“In Turning People into Teams, the Sherwins share practical rituals, routines, and activities that help teams understand what it means to exhibit ownership, values, and integrity as individual contributors to a collective effort. Curating best practices from corporations, nonprofits, and academia, this book has insights into building effective teams and transforming how they work.”

—Ratna Desai, Director of Product Design, Netflix



Bonus Content

Book Excerpt: “Turning People Into Teams” - The preface from the book

Ritual: “The Nuance of Better” - A bonus ritual that helps teams figure out what ‘better’ means for their work, and how they’ll know they’ve achieved it. Published on Design Mind.

Book Excerpt: “Get More Out of the Five Whys”

Article: “Why Rituals: Supporting Teams When They Need It Most”

Article: “How Project Teams Actually Work” (a.k.a. What We Think About Bruce Tuckman)

For the first chapter in the book, “Start the Team by Talking About the Team,” we have a card deck that can be used while facilitating the ritual.



Press Kit

For press inquiries and review copies of Turning People into Teams, please email questions (at) askthesherwins (daht) com.


Turning People into Teams - High Res Cover
Turning People into Teams - Book cover for Facebook

Author’s Photo & Bio

David and Mary Sherwin - Author Photo

David and Mary Sherwin are cofounders of Ask The Sherwins, LLC, a consulting and training firm that helps organizations around the world develop the capabilities they need for stronger teamwork. They have coached product and service design teams and developed innovation training for organizations such as Philips Oral Healthcare, Google UX Community and Culture, and Eventbrite. The Sherwins have collaborated on three books, including the bestseller Creative Workshop.


“Create a culture where coworkers are designing and building the team experience they want. Create shared rituals.” From the new book “Turning People into Teams” by @askthesherwins https://www.askthesherwins.com/teams

“Great teams aren’t built person by person, they’re built behavior by behavior.” From the new book “Turning People into Teams” by @askthesherwins https://www.askthesherwins.com/teams



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