One of your first tasks in preparation for the team project is to do a little introspection, thinking about your current strengths, skills, and personality. I will also enourage you to think about what skills and strengths you want to develop as part of participating in this class and this project. For instance, if you are not a strong public speaker, you might want to use this class as a platform for practicing public speaking in a small setting (such as the small-group demos). So, as you work on your self-assessment, recognize where you are currently but also embrace a growth mindset and be willing to take (small) risks.
There are many different psychometric "tests" that attempt to categorize individual mental capacities and behavioral styles. Most of them probably would not pass muster with our Psychology Department, but they are endemic in industry and among working groups in academia. I probably have taken such tests every three years or so, as managers attempt to improve the functioning of their departments and teams. While the specifics of the tests are questionable, it can be a good starting point for considering what makes for effective teams and departments.
For this project, I am not going to ask you to take any of the tests, but I am going to ask you explore on that has been extremely popular in business settings: The Clifton StrengthsFinder Themes. There is a book and a test that one can buy, but I think you can probably narrow in on your own strengths just by reading over the descriptions on the PDF file available at the Gallup site. For further instructions, see the full assignment: Strengths, Skills, and Growth Areas Reflection. You will also be asked to indicate your strengths as part of the team assignment survey, since I am trying to create teams that have a variety of strengths and skills.
Please note that we are still in the process of finalizing the list of organizations with whom we will work during this Spring Term.
Projects are also being finalized at this time. Several projects are new to us this term, which means that a majority of the initial work this Spring will involve developing a list of features that the community partner wants. These prototypes are always a work in progress.
We have 5 alumni/ae who support our software design and development efforts:
They will be joining us face to face in class on February 8th. Hopefully, we can arrange for informal conversations and meetings while they are on campus!! During the rest of the term, they will be available via social media and other digital communication channels, especially our Slack Channels!
Early in the term, we will have a presentation by Susan Sanning that gives an overview of the possible projects available for your class section. You will then rank your preferences in the Team Assignment Survey.
Over the weekend, your instructor form teams, trying to give every student their first or second choice of team (which usually is possible .....). Teams will be announced on Monday or possibly Wednesday following.
Generally, your first meeting should be done face to face, and this is often done at the community partner's place of business. See the logistics page for how to transport the whole team to that site. TRY to arrange this meeting to include your professor at this initial meeting so that she can observe the interaction and help take notes about the plan for the term.
After this meeting, you should draft a Scope of Work that describes the planned development work for the term. Have your community partner read your draft and suggest edits as needed. You will submit the S of W to Pioneer Web as part of the planning for Sprint 1.
How to do Team Retrospectives
Each team will give two final presentations. Unless you make prior arrangements, each student must be part of the technical and public presentations.
One is given to the class as a whole and is a technical overview of what what accomplished and how .... as well as what challenges the team faced during the term and how they met those challenges. You do not need to present an image of complete success at this presentation. We often learn as much from failures as from achievements. This presentation is usually give on the last day of class.
The other presentation is given to the class, your community partners, and possibly the computer science department. This is intended to be focused on the product you have produced, with a high level discussion of what features the team implemented during the term. This usually happens during the scheduled final.