Design Team Dynamics

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Tim: Team evolution and dynamics

Things We Do Right
It seems like a flat heirarchy is mostly preserved in teams here. Frequent delivery seems less necessary because changing requirements for an assignment aren't really tolerated in an academic environment and our "customers" are readily accessible and tend to have built-in oversight.

Things That Go Wrong
The Troubled Teams symptoms seem to come down mostly to flawed leadership, incompatible personalities, lack of skills, unclear objectives, and an inadequate or otherwise hostile environment.
I feel that the problems that affected my Design Nature team experience most were about communications and an unwillingness to express frustration to other team members or confront power imbalances we were uncomfortable with. I think this relates to the idea of personal safety in teams -- our size works both for and against us, and I think in this case our status as newly-minted first-years in an unfamiliar and very small social environment contributed to our team's problems. I agree with Eric's note that we may feel hesitant to raise concerns about team members -- our small community makes us more sensitive to the potential for conflict.

I almost wonder if there's a difference between how teams function in an academic structure like Olin's and how teams function in the Real World -- which could potentially indicate a failure of Olin's team curriculum. This is completely unbridled speculation since the aforementioned DN group is only real team (even in the loosest sense of the world) I've been on.


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