I've always valued having a team of people I know and can work with. While I haven't had a lot of long-term jobs before Redgate, I have had a few positions that lasted more than a year and appreciated working with the same group for a long time. We might gain or lose a person, but overall, the structure of the team was the same day after day. This was a comfortable atmosphere, and I liked knowing who I was working with each day.
At Redgate, we have had some stable teams of people, but in our engineering area, we move teams around. There is an annual re-teaming each December/January where engineers can choose to leave their team and ask to transfer to another one. They get to put in their top three choices (or remain on their team), and we do a good job of trying to match up everyone's preferences. The number and charter of teams do change a bit each year, so engineers get visibility into the structure we're planning before they mark a preference. It seems from our internal reports that we match up 99% of engineers with their first or second choices (first choice is in the high 80s).
Recently our head of engineering talked about the dangers of a long-term stable team vs. making changes. Chris Smith noted that 25-33% of engineers look to move, which is my impression. I get to know who works on different products (or parts of them), and while I often know year-to-year who can help with which issues, I'm also surprised by the changes at times.
I'm also disappointed sometimes because some very talented engineers will leave a team to move to another. That can worry me as I know how much knowledge is leaving. At the same time, as Chris pointed out, sometimes very talented people will leave an organization because they feel stuck in one job. There also is value in cognitive diversity, which is something I look for. We need to get along, but I like working with people that think differently than I do.
I haven't seen this need to move as much in operations teams as in development teams. Maybe the nature of the person who supports systems is different than those who build them, but I do find long-term system administrators sometimes struggle with change and improvements. I'm not fond of change for change's sake, and I want to justify new technologies/protocols/etc. However, I also think as technology changes, we ought to objectively evaluate if it's better. Not all change is, but some certainly improve the environment.
Do you prefer a stable team or do you like to change periodically? A lot of companies move people around, sometimes on a schedule, to ensure they can grow and bring new ideas and perspectives to other teams. Does your employer do this? Do you like the idea or would you prefer not to re-team periodically?