While conflict is inevitable, teams can do their best to set clear expectations about potential sources of problems. Here are some questions to get you thinking about agreements your team will document in your team contract.
Overall Team Goals
What constitutes a “successful project” for each group member, and do those goals align? Are there any specific, measurable goals that the team wants to aim for (besides an A in the course)?
Individual Learning Goals
What do you want to be better at by the end of this project? (This can be writing- or presenting- or engineering- or project management-related.) What have you not had a chance to do previously but would like to do this semester? What can your team do to support these goals?
How will the team contact one another? How will the team share files or information? How will the team document and archive group work? What guidelines could the team have for taking turns in conversation, for listening to others’ ideas, for addressing each other respectfully?
How will the team resolve disagreements? What kinds of teamwork problems have occurred in the past, and how did team members handle them? Did that work or not? What could the team do to prevent common problems (slackers, dictators, martyrs, etc.)? What problems should the team bring to the professor? What kinds of problems will the team handle itself?
- Joanna Wolfe (author of your textbook) on gender dynamics in engineering teams.
- Adam Bryant on how to run a more effective meeting.
- An example of a project management log (with meeting minutes) made by an MIT student.
- Joe Martin describes six ways to boost team morale with visual communication.
- An example of a team contract used by a construction company.
- Advice from the Harvard Business Review on why team contracts are a good idea.
- A YouTube video of a professor explaining the importance of a scope document and a team contract.
- Try When2meet or Doodle to arrange a team meeting.
- StrawPoll will enable you to create polls for groups to vote on options.
- Gyazo is an app that will let you share screenshots, which can be helpful when your team is working remotely.
- Lots of companies use Slack to work with one another, and there are lots of add-ons to make your work more productive.
- This YouTube video describes the five stages of group work (forming, storming, norming, performing, and adjourning) through the lens of The Fellowship of the Ring movie.