Design Team Dynamics

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Mel: Background information

Thought it would be a good idea to start with an introduction, so you can get a sense of what kind of filters I'm running all my blog posts and conversations through.


Before Olin, I was peripherally within a social group and participated in several team-intensive activities, notably math team, drama club tech, math modeling, improv, and the newspaper. Most of my time was spent as an individual working while the rest of the group (social or working) puttered around me; I would poke my head in as often as I thought I needed to. I wasn't divorced from the group - often I'd fill the role of teacher and translator - but my mode was very much "knock something out, pass it on."

At Olin

I'm mildly more social at Olin and definitely more adept working in groups, though I still tend to knock things out independently. Sophomore year I was Editor-In-Chief of Frankly Speaking, the school paper, and promptly recieved a painful crash course on how to not lead a team - so I've had my share of failures. I'm a notoriously prolific tutor, and I suspect this is the main reason seem to respect my judgment more than they should given my actual technical ability. I love to teach and explain things, so I often end up writing plenty of documentation and working with group members who need to catch up.

Teammates have described me as a "swiss army knife," able to fit anywhere, work with mostly anyone, and do most anything; I've pointed out in return that I can do many jobs, but don't fit any of them particularly well ("I can hack at many things, but I can't do more than hack"). I'm better at helping others get work done than I am at getting my own work finished. I have a marked tendency to gravitate towards the role of Alpha-Teacher-Geek, but dislike this preference and attempt to counteract it by consciously stepping back; this doesn't always work.

I have a tendency to think meta in a mildly narcisstic manner, so you'll hear many analyses of my actions (and analyses) in this blog.

Belbin self-perception inventory scores

One article Tim sent out this week had a Belbin self-perception test attached. It's analogous to the Myers-Brigg (for the record, I am a strong INFP), but is focused on how you function within a team context. Click here for an explanation of the categories.
  1. Plant - 19 (Extremely high)
  2. Resource Investigator - 14 (Very high)
  3. Implementer - 12 (High)
  4. Teamworker - 10 (Average)
  5. Coordinator - 7 (Average)
  6. Monitor Evaluator - 5 (Low)
  7. Complete Finisher - 2 (Low)
  8. Shaper - 6 (Ridiculously low)

I'm not surprised by the low Complete Finisher score; if anything, I'm an "Incomplete Fini-Ooh, Shiny!" and need plenty of hounding in that department. I was surprised by the high Resource Investigator score, though. I'm not extroverted, am mildly uncomfortable around unfamiliar people, and am terrified of speaking on the phone (I'm hearing-impaired, so it takes me a while to get used to a new person's voice, and if I can't lipread, I'm lost). I do ask a lot of stupid questions, write copious amounts of email, and read prolifically, so that might make up for my awkwardness around, y'know, actual people.

And that's enough about me.

How are you?


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