Lessons Learned 3: Team Management
Our task was to find a suitable way to organise the project, starting with the collaboration between us (both taking the roles of project managers), considering also our personal backgrounds, and continuing with how to organize activities, how to keep track of our documents, and how to make assessments regarding project risks.
In the “Lesson Learned 1” article I described how it was for us, as husband and wife to work together in a school project. Here I want to dive more into practical things.
We are a team consisting of one designer and one engineer, and this was a factor without which our project would not have achieved the same results. My contribution as designer was to create a comprehensive scheme of the project and to try to design the process towards a successful outcome. Philippe’s technical skills aided by understanding the topic better and by criticizing the solution (our prototype), so it can have credibility from the technical side.
In our team we’ve also needed to deal with organizing our activities, so we’ve found very useful to use the Work Breakdown Structure as a way of framing the task. (see picture). Initially, the activities should’ve been documenting on the Yammer platform (which was provided by school), but we ended up using Google Drive as our main data base.
There were many documents that we needed to keep open, have continuous access on them and be able to write together in the same time (I know it might sound paradoxical but was so useful to work from two computers, even if most of the time we were in the same room).
The fact that we were aware of the skills we have within the team helped us a lot in having a smooth journey and lead us towards valuable results. Also it gave much more credibility to the project, and we took more information into account.
On the organization side, by using the Work Breakdown Structure we were able to have an overview of the project and adjust the activities, there were a lot of unexpected situations with the other partners involved. Keeping track of these activities in one place and having a chronological cluster was a good way to find everything in the end, when we needed to write the report. Also, simultaneously work was a very efficient way to fulfill the tasks (as class presentation, insights from data collection, review meetings and so on) in time.
It is important to be aware of all skills and different areas of knowledge that your team has, so you could benefit a lot from their backgrounds.
Be sure that your adapt this skills to create your own path and to find the tools that are actually working in your project style. Don’t try to use something that is not suitable for your project. If you feel that something is missing, try to adjust yourself as soon as possible.
Keep all documents in the same place. It is very useful that all team members have access to them and is much easier to find something when you have to search it only in one place.
Keep them chronological. It will help you to remember each step that you took in the end.