I am so glad that this assignment is over. I learned a lot from it and am glad to have had the experience for that reason, but the sheer amount of time and effort that went into it was really surprising and frustrating at times. Writing my own individual section was fine. Once it became a matter of editing and unifying it with everyone elses and matters of overall report sections, then the real hardship began. I took on the section ‘conclusions and recommendations’ and literally spent DAYS writing it and rewriting it, trying to establish what peoples main points were, what they thought, and asking for specific recommendations, all while trying to write it to a specific template which would incorporate everything and cohesively bring together the entire report. Phew.
This is what I personally have learned from the experience;
1. Blogs are great communication tools for reflection. I researched blogs, had never encountered them before, but from using this one and setting up one for the team (though ineffective for teamwork) and have come to really enjoy them. They really warrant a reflection and thought on what you think, how you feel, and what other peoples’ opinions are.
2. Virtual teams require several modes of communicative technologies. One is not enough. For the various needs of any virtual team, at least 3 are needed (see previous blog post on ‘combinations of tools’).
3. Assigning team roles is important when forming a team. Team leader, timekeeper etc..Clearly defined roles enhace the progression of the team and decrease confusion and slack.
4. Being accountable to others can change the way you work. I had never worked as part of a team in this way before, and having to be accountable definately added another dimension to my work processes. For example, I can easily skimp on deadlines I set for myself, but in a team, this is not so easy. In general, I think it makes for increased incentives and can push you that bit further but only if…….
5. Everone on the team puts in equal amounts of work. It is frustrating to be a part of a team where others may be working less or supplying work to a lower standard. This, I think, is where assigning team roles can be of benefit.
And finally, its really hit home for me the possibilities and potential that technology has for communcation and collaborative work. To think that we successfully collaborated with a team in Florida becasue of these technologies is something that can easily be taken for granted but it is quite amazing and I can’t imagine what will develop in the future….
On another note, Our main Editor spent days upon days trying to unify and edit our overall document. I came across this interview with a documnet design expert on how to ‘effectively design documents without fuss’ http://johnnyholland.org/2011/02/17/effective-design-documentation-without-a-fuss-an-interview-with-dan-brown/