Today I am really happy about the Project Community class. Team work has been a though thing to deal with. In the weekend, I’ve talked to people from other groups and realized it has been hard for all the class. This is the obvious thing to happen because many of us are people who have never worked in a project with a team. And this is not the only reason. Even when you’re working with people from your own country, you have to face cultural differences. People always have their own values and objectives. Working with students from other countries means dealing with a big variety of values. This, plus our lack of experience, requires patience and hard work. I’m grateful that the teachers are aware of our situation. And I’m so, so glad that we had Chris Corrigan’s video in today’s class. Finally we had some light on how to organize our work and now it’s the time to not worry at all and just get able to WORK IT ALL.
Our job today was to think of how we need to divide the work so everyone can contribute effectively. We haven’t been productive and the most challenging aspect for us is that we still don’t know how to, at the same time, be nice and get everyone involved in the work. Being divided in teams, our portential is amplified and I finally feel we’re gonna get there. I believe we have found the solution today and people will be able to express all of their ideas, first to one or two integrants, then develop it and finally take it to the group meeting.
This again reminds me of when I was part of “R Curitiba” organization committee. This was my first experience working on a huge-group project from beggining to end and I just learned so much. I learned about setting up topics for meetings, how to communicate with the team, taking notes while the meetings happen, how to interact with other cells…and in the end we managed to do a great job! But when we started, we were about 70 young people, from different parts of Brazil, sitting in a room where everyone was really excited. There were so many ideas, so much passion for what we wanted to do. It was really hard to make the work flow in the meetings. But after one or two meetings, a guy was able to come up with a plan for dividing the committee in cells and explain how it would work. He explained it in a clear way because it wasn’t his first time inside a team like that, and he already knew what we would possibly struggle with. Everyone agreed and we moved on. The cells we had were:
There were also some other small cells as human resources and a kind of “administrative office”, but mainly we would work inside those 4 cells.
The team also had a lot of agreements and each cell leader was responsible for keeping track of who was working and who was not. We would have two weekly meetings: one for the cell, and one “general meeting” where all the cells would inform the whole group what was going on. This “general meetings” usually happened on weekends and again they were a true lesson on how you have to let go of your own egotistical wishes to make space for a beautiful team work. I was really impressed on how our “leaders” managed to structure the meetings and make them effectively happen. The person who was supposed to take notes of this “general meetings” always had a though job doing so and I sometimes would be that person.
But this was only to revise and inform decisions, problems, etc. The real work would happen in the cell meetings. My cell had about 8 people and the leader managed to really take care of its development. We would often work in couples, then explain the conclusions to the cell, adjust what wasn’t good and only then telling it to the general group. The hardest part was when the work of a cell would depend on the work of another cell and it happened frequently. There were a considerable amount of “noise” between what one cell needed from the other and what the other could do about it. We used to be very disappointed about this, but it was nice to see how each cell worked in different ways and how contrasting it could be. For example, the communication cell was always working on Facebook, and they were really objective, fast. They had practical work in the meetings and sometimes would have short meetings just to make some decisions. My cell, the content one, would always have long meetings, where we would have deep discussions, usually a lot of food too and often we were just too tired in the end of a meeting (or should I say, end of a day?).
From that experience, I see a lot of solutions our Evolve Team could try. I feel how influenced I am from the R Curitiba experience. This may be the reason my team relates myself to the “organization” of the work. I really feel the need to have things well structured so we can make a good use of our time and can work better with challenges, changes, etc. Today, when we were supposed to reflect on group size and how it should work for us, I came up with a suggestion of a list. This list had all the actions we’ve been working on so far and others that we know are in our future. We had 6 items on this list, then attributed every two actions to a group of 2 or 3 people. It looks like a nice work path to follow. Apart from the tasks division, we also came up with:
- An Agreement: Everyone must attend to all the meetings. On Monday AND on Friday. If a person misses 2 meetings, the group can (and will) talk to teacher. Then it’s the person job to do something about it and try to cope with the team work. Meetings are just too important for anyone to miss. This is the time where all the work is shared with others so that everyone is on the same page.
- STARR: We analyzed some situations we had to deal with. It was useful to see how we’ve actually managed to solve problems and also how our work looks like so far.
- Group Blog: An important post for an important moment. This decisions we made today need to be highlighted and visible for the teachers and the people from the team that weren’t at today’s class.
I believe today’s work will finally be something for our team to have a support. Another thing we’ve realized today while organizing our work and revising it is that we have actually already came up with a good amount of advices. However we’re not even close to be finished, we still need more
- Organization: Management of the project / Schedule / Indexed information
- Research: Context / Questions / Crowdfunding, sourcing and networks / Instructions
An ideas I’m working on and will try to propose to the team on Friday is using Trello. This tool does not replace GDrive but has the management features we’re still missing. Hope it helps us and we don’t end up getting lost in a “digital paraphernalia”.