Introducing the Global Communication Center (GCC)

Report
COMMUNICATING IN A
TEAM
Joanna Wolfe, Ph.D.
Director, Global Communication Center
The Global Communication Center
Director, Joanna Wolfe, Ph.D.
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COMMUNICATING IN A
TEAM
Joanna Wolfe
Director, Global Communication Center
http://www.cmu.edu/gcc
Outline of Session
1.
Unique challenges of classroom teamwork
2.
How poor team structure causes problems
3.
What a project manager does
-
Task schedule
Meeting minutes
Agenda, emails, and other documents
4.
Tips for revising with others
5.
Troubleshooting “slackers” and other conflicts
Teamwork can be more than the sum of
its parts
2+2>4
There are unique challenges to student
teams.
• No clear hierarchy or unique roles
• Supervisor’s job not dependent on team
outcome
• Assumption that everybody does equal work
• Learning should be more important than the
final product.
STRUCTURING YOUR
PROJECT
There are 3 ways to structure collaboration
Face-to-Face
Divided
Layered
Video 1
Problems?
Video 2
Problems?
Layered collaboration involves building on
each others’ unique efforts.
Face-to-Face
Divided
Layered
Task schedules are essential to
layered collaboration.
Building review in a task schedule
gives you an opportunity to learn.
FROM LEADERSHIP TO
PROJECT MANAGEMENT
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.
Basic project management documents
include task schedules and minutes
• Task Schedules
• Who, What, When
• Meeting Minutes
• Accountability. “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.”’
What’s wrong with this task schedule?
Deadline Task
Status
9/04
9/04
9/06
9/09
9/12
9/12
9/14
9/14
9/17
9/19
Completed
Completed
Completed
Write topic proposal.
Review and discuss topic proposal.
Turn in revised topic proposal to instructor.
Create template.
Write instructions for installing motor and arms.
Write instructions for assembling base.
Test-drive instructions with users at in the library.
Email a list of changes to group.
Revise instructions.
Edit manual.
Meeting Minutes : Version 1
Meeting Minutes: Version 2
Meeting Minutes: Version 3
Other project management documents
• Meeting Agenda
• Email reminders & notifications
• Team Charter
A charter helps teams reprioritize in the
face of conflict
DEVELOPING A REVISION
PLAN
Direct Revision versus Feedback
Direct revision makes changes directly on
document.
Feedback asks the original writer to make
revisions.
A checklist for revising a group document
Reread project requirements and goals
Begin with praise
Suggest (or add) additional material
Note (or revise) inaccurate or misleading material
Suggest (or implement) changes to argument or
organization.
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
•
•
•
•
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?
TROUBLESHOOTING
TEAM PROBLEMS
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.
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.”
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.”
a) 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.”
b) 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.
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.
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.
a)
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?”
b)
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.
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.
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?”
b) Talk to your teammate one-on-one “I appreciate your work,
but I feel excluded from the project. Can we proceed
differently next time?”
c) Send an email 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.”
a)
For more information and
troubleshooting….
QUESTIONS

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