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SWON News: SWON Weekly

Teams and Trials

Thursday, November 6, 2014  
Posted by: Nathan Swartzendruber
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When you've been handed a project, you might start brainstorming ways to accomplish the project’s goal. You might start lists of what resources–people, equipment, finances–will be required. You might want to wade straight into the work itself.

These are all important steps, but they probably don’t all come easily to you. That’s no surprise; we’re all different. So team-work isn't just about getting along. It requires a the completion of a series of phases, which challenge different people to different degrees. If you don’t know the aptitudes on your team, it can lead to some frustrating surprises.

For example, if your team has hard workers, but no one likes to develop plans and assign the work, you might have two people working on the same task while other jobs stay unfinished. If your team has great creative ideas, but no one thinks to look for existing resources, you might spend a lot of time creating solutions that have already been found elsewhere.

Team Roles

At SWON, we've been using Frederick Mumma’s Team-Work & Team-Roles model, which lists 12 roles/phases. Then we took an assessment to help us understand our aptitude in all 12 roles. We found that we each have several areas of strength (good news, since there are only three of us at SWON).

That knowledge is helping us plan out projects and also work better together on ongoing tasks. Some roles are difficult for all of us, but there are strategies for dealing with the gaps. Knowing them helps us cover them better. It also helps us play to our individual strengths.

If you’re interested in learning more about the Team-Work & Team-Roles model, you can read a bit about it here. Or, even better, contact Melanie at or at (513) 751–4422, since she’s used this in several settings and can give a first-hand facilitator’s account. Invite her to spend some time with your team, and help them do what they do well (and be more productive).

  • Nathan Swartzendruber, SWON Technology Educator

Fall Luncheon: Last Day for Registration

We’re putting together the final details for SWON’s fall luncheon, and we want you to be there! November 6th is the last day for registration, so act now to join us for a series of brief talks about maker spaces and time to chat.

Here’s the link: See you November 13th!

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