The final class for NYU SCPS Project Management in the Team Environment was in-class team presentations.
For the most part, the presentations by our fellow class members were good. Some people are obviously more comfortable with presenting than others. Some team members are more comfortable supporting the less public speaking experienced than others. Some groups understand better how to format a power point for effective presenting than others. And, mostly everyone seemed to get the overall point of the assignment without being driven into a tangent. No one flopped though and that was the most impressive and important part of the evening.
As I initially suspected the assignment really did have nothing to do with the content itself but more how we functioned in creating and presenting it. All of the follow-up questions to it from the teacher and the majority of the ones from the class were how the teams functioned and the efforts we took to create the presentation itself.
Additionally, I assumed correctly the goal of the assignment was to answer the question Yes-or-No. The sticking point some groups discussed for themselves was they didn’t know what the deliverable was supposed to be. They either didn’t identify it as that or had disagreements as to if it was explicitly that. Our group, through my direction was the sole one that began with that consensus approach to framing the deliverable.
Finally, the group lost yet another member! This time, it happened the day of the presentation and we had to adjust on the fly.
As I mentioned last week in the revisions step we went from being the largest team in the class to losing a member and becoming the same size as the others. Then, with only the afternoon’s
notice we became the smallest team in the class losing our second member.
This could have negatively affected the presentation save for a few key reasons. They might be vaguely familiar actually:
1. The person lost was not an explicit specialist so their role could be absorbed into the team and assignments more easily distributed. This turned out to be luck.
2. The distribution of the assignment components contained overlap and some redundancies to ensure adequate preparation the live presentation. This turned out to be fortunate in planning.
3. There was very little effort in coming to a consensus on redistributing the work load or defining next steps moving forward short another member. This was in part good planning in our procedural.
4. The go-team-go attitude and individual ethics to do ones best continued to permeate the team so we didn’t allow the loss of a member to affect us negatively.
Of course, the timing sounds bad in that we lost them at the last minute, but truth be told had they bailed before we had finalized the slides and we were forced to scramble in putting them together it would have been way worse than just not having the extra presenter available to explain them. For that we’re fortunate in both the sense of good planning and good luck.
Up to the point of losing a second member the flow of the team was held together for several reasons that I feel contributed most to our success.
1. everyone stuck to the communication’s plan. when we agreed to email we understood the potential delays in replying and all but because we had backup systems in place and everyone respected the reply-all it worked well.
2. our documentation’s specialist was a superstar and the documentation methodology was solid resulting in the sharing of drafts for edits happened seamlessly.
and most importantly
3. the decision making plan worked which was bolstered by solid leadership otherwise we probably would have been tripped up more by members dropping out.
Point three deserves a little further explanation in that we initially put the plan together as mitigation for disagreements within the content of the project. It was to ensure if two or more members didn’t get along we didn’t waste time and energy on fighting. We never used it for that. Instead, it was a fortunate product of planning we had it to use for efficiently and effectively pivoting within the project due to the unforeseen circumstances of losing members. Pivoting is often very difficult to do (which is why so many start-ups fail on the pivot point) particularly when it occurs due to under-staffing and yet our few simple early decisions made it significantly easier to overcome with. This shows the value of having that decision protocol in place and the return on investment we got from the ten minutes or so we set aside to develop it in the planning stage when we used it rather than struggling with protocol-less decisions later on.
One final note on the project that I think bears importance to say is that we closed the project too (speaking back to last week’s post regarding that stage of the project oft being left undone). As you can see by this blog post, I’m doing a lessons learned for myself, but we also traded one final email after the course ended to congratulate one another and point out what we believed were the strengths of the group overcoming. The teacher also provided an opportunity at the end of the presentation with the follow up questions for us to analyses our effort.