Team work

11/15/2011

During my final year at FSU, we were forced to work on group projects in order to receive a passing grade in certain classes.

It was terrible.

Being paired with students who were apathetic about their academics essentially meant that one or two individuals carried the weight of the entire team. Unfair at best.

Since that time, I’ve collaborated with dozens (if not hundreds) of small teams in completing projects professionally (in my former life as an IT Consultant) and in a freelance capacity (I’ve hired dozens of contractors for odd jobs).

These are the critical factors that appear to have contributed to the success of my projects over the years:

  1. Progress updates — how’s it coming?
  2. Ownership — what are you on the hook for?
  3. Deadlines — by when can we expect your portion?
  4. Accountability — what do you promise to contribute?
  5. Transparency — are you having any issues that we should know about?

Given the nature of modern projects with team members often living in different locations and time zones, software often facilitates the collaboration where email falls short.

At Domino, we used Basecamp to coordinate and it worked great. Recently, I’ve been using Asana with my team and find it in some ways to be the best collaboration tool I’ve used (it’s focused!).