Tuesday, 7 May 2013

The Big 5

The 'big 5' of teamwork consists of:

Team Leadership
Mutual performance monitoring
Back-up behaviour
Team orientation

If I was to pick two of these in which I had a positive experience it would be back-up behaviour and adaptability.

The context under which I was working at that time (2006 - 2010) was section leader for computing in an FE college. It was a medium sized department (15 - 20) teaching staff. There was a head of department and another 2 section leaders. Each section leader was responsible for leading their own curriculum area. I was responsible for managing the computer systems and networking curriculum and led a team of 6 teaching staff. I was also responsible for managing the college Moodle VLE.

Each of the section leaders had other responsibilities for example, quality processes and timetabling. Each SL was encouraged to learn about the other roles; we worked almost holistically and not in 'silos'. This was incase a backup was needed, so for example if the timetabler was not around and a member of teaching staff was off ill, another could access the timetabling system and organise class cover. We could each easily provide backup and adapt temporarily to the environment.

In our group, there will be allocated roles. It will be important however for us to use an effective communication mechanism, synchronous and/or asynchronous to let each other know what is happening - keeping each other in the loop in case we need backup and to temporarily provide support.

The key here for MAODE students is the synch/asynch communication solution and scheduling skills because not everyone will be able to meet (conference wise) at the same time due to large geographical spread.


  1. I agree Dave, that a holistic approach assists in keeping everyone together and the project running smoothly. As you say we will have designated roles but I can imagine that enabling the boundaries to blur when necessary will help smooth out phases where someone is struggling and can't keep up because of work or private commitments.

    Pleased to hear you've led a team! We'll be needing some leadership :-)

    I also believe that establishing an efficient mechanism of communication will be a priority both for synchronous and asynchronous communication. It will depend on what phases we are moving in and what kind of decisions need to be made as to how we decide to cope with this.

    I think we may need to create a central space for depositing resources and making quick summaries about them and their relevance to the project. I could imagine a Wiki would be a solution for this, either through the OU or Google Drive. This would enable us all to have an immediate overview over what is being collected and the reasons behind it without having to engage in too much tweeting or mailing.


  2. David the idea of continuous and close communication seems wise in this project. I am personally a fan of the 'expanded capacity' approach of working holistically, with individuals able to assume aspects of other roles. A centralised repository of work as suggested by Trish, for even notes and references, seems like a realistic way to achieve this approach in this particular setting.
    Previously, when you worked this way, did you find that 'tasting' and understanding one anothers'roles from within those roles helped understanding and appreciation of fellow team members' roles or did it have the opposite effect?