Now that our first assignment is all done, but the short presentation later today, I wanted to reflect on team dynamics. It’s fair to say that there was a challenge or two in this first project. I don’t consider that bad, as this week has been primarily about learning about one’s self.
Part of this is the unfamiliarity the members have with each other. Most people here have known each other for four days and we’ve been working quite intimately. The benefit time gives you is that you learn where to go and to not go with certain people. Unpredictable environments can negatively impact collaborative productivity (Dunin-Keplicz, B. & Verbrugge, R., 2004).
How am I reacting to working with different personality types? Which types are more or less complimentary to mine? What about the intrinsic things we have that goes beyond type and allows us to be chameleons and cope well outside our comfort zone? Some do this well, some not so much.
We ended up, more or less, each doing a piece of the first assignment, with a lot of back and forth and feedback loops. I don’t want to judge the benefits of this in this one specific instance, because someone will always likely be the point person to edit and submit a group project, or to pull all the collaboration together into one final draft.
A touchier question for me is one we probably all grapple with. Is it better to do a part of the project which we know we’re not suited for because we want to expand our skillset, or should we go to the place that’s familiar for us since it’s easier for us to be sure of the end result? This certainly requires some soul-searching. If we’re way outside our comfort zone, will we know when we need to back off, or ask for help or not?
Dunin-Keplicz, B. & Verbrugge, R., 2004, Engineering Societies in the Agents World, pp107-122, Springer Berlin / Heidelberg