Image credit: Rita Ox
As the end of this module and the corresponding deadlines draw disquietingly near, we enter Tuckman’s final stage of group development; adjourning (Tuckman and Jensen, 1977).
It is recognised that the final phase of a team is its termination, and as much as this might be a source of anxiety, it is also a valuable opportunity for reflection.
In this post, I refer to a set of prompting questions presented in this week’s learning content to reflect on my team’s performance in this module (Jamie White, ca. 2020).
Was there clear communication amongst team members?
Clear might refer to the organisation of our communication, specifically adhering to the agreed processes in our team charter. It might also refer to the honesty and transparency that each member communicates to the rest of the team with.
If I were to answer solely on the organisation and protocol of our communication, I’d say we could do more to contain topics of discussion to their assigned channels with MS teams. A fair portion of our communication as a team took place within the ‘chat’ section, even when the topics of conversation— pitching, research, or artwork, for example— had dedicated areas within our team space.
However, if I were to answer the question on our honesty and transparency, I’d say that every team member has been remarkably honest and candid throughout our time together. From the opening week, I have felt confident that I could discuss any worries about our performance as a team, or any doubts in my own abilities. Likewise, if a team member was unable to meet a deadline for any reason, they have, for the most part, been honest about it.
Were there regular brainstorming sessions with all members in attendance?
It seems the time we have dedicated to brainstorming has tapered off as we have progressed though the module, but I believe that is because we have become more efficient in sharing our ideas.
Naturally, in the first weeks of the module, our work aligned closely with the early phases of the Double Diamond design process (Ball, 2019). During this time, most of our meetings involved brainstorming, or other such ideation methods.
As our project matured, we developed a unified vision of what we wanted to deliver. From there, we undoubtedly had fewer things to ideate on. When a problem arose that did require brainstorming, we confined our discussions to an item on our meeting agenda, instead of dedicating entire meetings to hashing it out.
Steel and König’s (2006) temporal motivation theory (TMT) affords our more effective brainstorming sessions. With our discussions timeboxed, the whole team was encouraged to share their ideas without tangental discourse. I found that we agreed on solutions quicker and everyone seemed to be just as satisfied that their voices were heard.
Amusingly, Marc Zao-Sanders (2018), wrote the following in a post for Harvard Business Review: “Parkinson’s law flippantly states that work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion. Although it’s not really a law (it’s more of a wry observation), most of us would concede that there is some truth to it (especially as it pertains to meetings)”. I think that captures the essence of my point.
How would you rate the commitment of each team member?
Undeniably, the levels of commitment varied between team members. But from the outset, and recorded in our team charter, we acknowleged that none of us were being paid for the work we did in the module, and our professional work rightfully took priority. I never asked for my team mates to commit longer hours to the project, only that they do their best to follow the processes we implemented and maintain communication.
As much as I would have liked to see more productivity from some of the team, everyone shared their progress as they worked, and it never felt that anyone was being distant. To that extent, I have no significant complaints with the team’s commitment.
Was work submitted frequently, and consistently?
In the latter half of the module, work was more frequently handed over to me for review and sign-off. Here, I refer again to the Double Diamond design process. The second convergant point in the process is where a design team delivers their artefact. As much as it has been my objective to avoid crunching, it still makes sense that I would notice some skew in delivery towards the end of the module.
Was the working relationship with your peers positive and supportive?
Any concerns that I might have had regarding my team’s organisation and commitment were more than offset by their positivity and support. In our first meeting I expressed concern that I lacked the leadership experience needed to be a team leader, but they encouraged me relentlessly.
I found the confidence to lead on this project through their support, and the success that I have had in this role is owed, at least in part, to them. Thanks again, guys.
BALL, J. 2019. ‘The Double Diamond: A universally accepted depiction of the design
process’. Design Council [online]. Available at: https://www.designcouncil.org.uk/newsopinion/double-diamond-universally-accepted-depiction-design-process [accessed 23/08/2021].
STEEL, P. & KÖNIG, C. J. 2006. ‘Integrating theories of motivation’. Academy of Management Review, 31(4), 889–913.
TUCKMAN, B.W. & JENSEN, M.A.C. 1977. ‘Stages of small-group development revisited’. Group & Organization Studies, 2(4), 419-427.
WHITE, J. ca. 2020. ‘ Week 11: Adjourning’. Falmouth university [online]. Available at: https://flex.falmouth.ac.uk/courses/913/pages/week-11-adjourning [accessed 23/08/2021].
ZAO-SANDERS, M. 2018. ‘How Timeboxing Works and Why It Will Make You More Productive’. Harvard Business Review [online]. Available at: https://hbr.org/2018/12/how-timeboxing-works-and-why-it-will-make-you-more-productive [accessed 23/08/2021].