Presentation on theme: "Communicating in a team"— Presentation transcript:
1 Communicating in a team Joanna Wolfe, Ph.D.Director, Global Communication Center
2 The Global Communication Center The GCC is a FREE tutoring resource for CMU studentsWe are located in Hunt library first floor.The Global Communication CenterDirector, Joanna Wolfe, Ph.D.
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5 Communicating in a team Joanna WolfeDirector, Global Communication CenterHow many of you have been on a team project?How many have had a bad experience on a team project?
6 Outline of Session Unique challenges of classroom teamwork How poor team structure causes problemsWhat a project manager doesTask scheduleMeeting minutesAgenda, s, and other documentsTips for revising with othersTroubleshooting “slackers” and other conflictsFirst: how many of you have worked on a team project: show of handsHow many have had a bad team experience???
7 Teamwork can be more than the sum of its parts 2 + 2 > 4Common practice in the workplaceIn the GCC, creating documents…..Touchtone registrationTwo people working for two weeks can produce better quality than one person working for four weeksDiversity of approachesDifferent expertiseDevelop skills: Learn from other people
8 There are unique challenges to student teams. No clear hierarchy or unique rolesSupervisor’s job not dependent on team outcomeAssumption that everybody does equal workLearning should be more important than the final product.If have workplace experience, it’s a little differentIn some ways harder, but also more freedom to learnPick a part of the project that doesn’t have you
19 Project managers use writing to keep a team on task. Project managers document agreements that hold team members accountable.They do not need to dominate team meetings.
20 Basic project management documents include task schedules and minutes Who, What, WhenMeeting MinutesAccountability. “Even if you don't produce formal minutes, at the end of the meeting, there should be a page that says you're going to do this, you’re going do this, you’re going do this, and you’re going to do this. The person who is project manager better make sure that’s written down. It’s their responsibility to follow up that things get done.”Consensus. “You can say one thing to five people and they will interpret it five different ways. It’s critical to put team decisions in writing because it gives them an opportunity to say ‘That’s not the way I interpreted what we agreed upon.”’
21 What’s wrong with this task schedule? DeadlineTaskStatus9/04Write topic proposal.CompletedReview and discuss topic proposal.9/06Turn in revised topic proposal to instructor.9/09Create template.9/12Write instructions for installing motor and arms.Write instructions for assembling base.9/14Test-drive instructions with users at in the library.a list of changes to group.9/17Revise instructions.9/19Edit manual.
25 Other project management documents Meeting Agendareminders & notificationsTeam Charter
26 A charter helps teams reprioritize in the face of conflict
27 Developing a revision plan Direct Revision versus Feedback
28 Direct revision makes changes directly on document.
29 Feedback asks the original writer to make revisions.
30 A checklist for revising a group document Reread project requirements and goalsBegin with praiseSuggest (or add) additional materialNote (or revise) inaccurate or misleading materialSuggest (or implement) changes to argument or organization.Does the document answer the readers’ questions?Is the bottom line emphasized so the reader will find it?Do figures make a clear argument?Is all of the information where the readers expect it?
32 How do you handle a “weak link”? I am on a team with three other people. Two of my teammates are fine, but the other guy, ugh. We asked him to do the first draft of the project proposal by compiling all of our information. He came up with less than one page that didn’t meet the requirements at all. This is really pitiful since we gave him over four pages of our own work to compile. Also he was supposed to add his own research, and there was no mention of it so I’m assuming he never did anything. This guy has shown up to every meeting, however he hasn’t said anything. In fact, during the last meeting he was chatting on instant messenger on his laptop while we were discussing the project. We still have a bunch of stuff to do, but I don’t think we can trust him with anything.
33 How do you handle someone who won’t listen? My group had three people. One of the guys was very alpha male and caused a lot of problems because he kept saying, “Oh, yeah, we should do it this way.” Every time I pointed out problems he was like “Well, I know better. We can use this really expensive steel or aluminum.”
34 Which is the better response (a) or (b)? One of the guys was very alpha male and caused a lot of problems because he kept saying, “Oh, yeah, we should do it this way.” Every time I pointed out problems he was like “Well, I know better. We can use this really expensive steel or aluminum.”With the other teammate, talk to alpha guy outside of a group meeting and say “You aren’t listening to other people’s ideas. We have some disagreement in the group and you really need to hear what other people are saying.”Say to alpha guy, “It sounds like you are really confident and passionate about this project, but I don’t understand where you are coming from. I need you to explain to me why this is the right solution.” Keep asking questions until he hopefully sees the problems with his approach.Professionals like B better.
35 How do you handle poor quality work? We assigned each person on the team a specific area to research and write up and then the idea was we would meet to put the paper together. It was terrible. I couldn’t believe it. My teammates didn’t find any research that was engineering related. There was no quantitative data to back up what they were saying. We were supposed to talk specifically about the bio materials they use to build certain dental implants. They just—I don’t know. They managed to fill out two pages of this just qualitative material, like you can use this material or this one and here are all the different procedures you can do with it. It was nothing like here’s the tension or the force that this material can support. I mean, it was really like an exercise in BS what they presented to me.
36 Which is the better response (a) or (b)? It was terrible. I couldn’t believe it. My teammates didn’t find any research that was engineering related. There was no quantitative data to back up what they were saying.State “This may just be me, but I think we should include some more quantitative information in this report. I feel it doesn’t sound enough like an engineering report. What do you guys think?”State “I see that you’ve found some good qualitative material, but I really think we’re expected to include more engineering related research and more specific quantitative information about these materials.” Then suggest we meet again in a few days with revised drafts.Main thing professionals added was provide specific examples
37 How do you handle being excluded from the project? I was on a three-person team with this guy who was very smart and I had so much respect for him. He knew our capstone professor and he knew the professor wanted to see certain things. So he took those important parts for himself and just divided the work up without asking. And when I asked him about it, he said “Don’t worry about it. We just did it. We went to the lab and just finished it.” He’s really smart so I know he did a good job, but I’m upset about being left out.
38 Which is the better response (a), (b) or (c)? So he took those important parts for himself and just divided the work up without asking. And when I asked him about it, he said “Don’t worry about it. We just did it.Tell your teammate “I really appreciate your work, but I need to learn how to do this. Can we go over what you did so I can understand it?”Talk to your teammate one-on-one “I appreciate your work, but I feel excluded from the project. Can we proceed differently next time?”Send an to the group saying “The work on this part of the project is done, but we didn’t really follow a team process. Next time, we should discuss how we’re going to divide up the work before we get started.”Main thing professionals added was provide specific examples