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					Project management: Managing the team
I. About teamwork
  • The context of web-based project management
  • Groups and teams
  II. Managing teams
    • The manager‟s responsibilities
    • The importance of communication
    III. Leadership and project management
       • Being a leader
       • Managing for effectiveness

                                 L577: Design of Information Systems Fall „06
Project management: Managing the team
I. The context
Where is the web going?
Emergent technologies and changing audiences
Internet access continues to increase
There is increasing demand for new web services
 Information, entertainment, government services,
 commerce, education
There is a move towards increased accessibility
People are accessing the web with a wide range of digital
devices

                                     L577: Design of Information Systems Fall „06
Web as information store
It is a central repository for important information
 Postal services, digital libraries, government services
 The interface must be simple and easy to use
 Will require extensive and intuitive searching
  People have to be able to find what they want when
  searching large and complex databases
Web as interactive TV
 Broadband allows richer media
 It can be accessed from televisions and kiosks
 This will require designing for a different type of interface

                                       L577: Design of Information Systems Fall „06
The portable web
 Accessing the web with small devices
  Cell phones, PDAs, wrist devices
 Designing smaller interfaces
 Developing minimalist and meaningful content
  Adding graphics and streaming media
The rise of multimedia
 Designing 3D spaces, sound design, animators, web-
 video development
Increasing importance of security
 This will be a specialist position

                                      L577: Design of Information Systems Fall „06
The importance of teamwork




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                                                are needed to see this picture.




http://mstu.cz/~bozek/obrazky/Animals/team
work.jpg

                                              L577: Design of Information Systems Fall „06
• Groups and teams
A group is an expression of the needs and aspirations of
the people who constitute them
A team is a group with three additional characteristics
 They are formed by management directive
 Members are responsible for outcomes and operations
 They typically exist in supportive work contexts
The organization emphasizes the mutuality of interests
between employers and employees
 Team members can influence work related decisions
 There is open information and two way communication
 about organizational policies and practices

                                     L577: Design of Information Systems Fall „06
Characteristics of well-functioning teams:
 Purpose: members share a sense of why the team
 exists and are invested in accomplishing its mission
 and goals
 Priorities: they know what needs to be done next,
 by whom, and by when to achieve team goals
 Roles: they know their roles in getting tasks done
 and when to allow a more skillful member to do a
 certain task
 Decisions: authority and decision-making lines are
 clearly understood
 Conflict: conflict is dealt with openly and is considered
 important to decision-making and personal growth
National School Boards Foundation. (ND). Leadership teams.
http://www.nsba.org/sbot/toolkit/LeadTeams.html
                                          L577: Design of Information Systems Fall „06
                                                                                QuickTime™ and a
                                                                      TIFF (Uncompressed) decompressor
                                                                         are needed to see this picture.




More characteristics
 Personal traits: members feel they are appreciated and
 their talents are well utilized
 Norms: group norms for working together are set and
 seen as standards for every one in the groups
 Effectiveness: members find team meetings efficient
 and productive and look forward to this time together
 Success: members know clearly when the team has
 met with success and share in this equally and proudly
 Training: opportunities for feedback and updating
 skills are provided and taken advantage of by team
 members
          http://www.mgcpuzzles.com/mgcpuzzles/images/all_new_core_images/
          Corporate_Puzzles/teamwork_images/teamwork_kids_teamwork_A.jpg
                                            L577: Design of Information Systems Fall „06
Being an effective team member:
 Contributing ideas and solutions
 Recognizing and respect differences in others
  Learning how to give and receive criticism
 Valuing the ideas and contributions of others
 Listening and sharing information
 Asking questions and receiving clarification
 Participating fully and meeting your commitments
  Keeping the project manager and colleagues informed
  Reporting problems early
 Being flexible and respecting the team

                                     L577: Design of Information Systems Fall „06
Characteristics of a high-performing teams:
 Participative leadership: interdependence through
 empowering, freeing up and serving others
 Shared responsibility: an environment in which
 members feel responsibility for the project
 Purposeful alignment: a sense of common purpose
 about why the team exists and the function it serves
 Frequent and high quality communication: a climate of
 trust and open, honest communication
 Future focused: change as an opportunity for growth
 Focus on task: keeping meetings and interactions
 focused on results
 Rapid response: identifying and acting on opportunities

                                    L577: Design of Information Systems Fall „06
Goals and functions of a web team:
Developing strategy
 Strategists manage the group and lead the project
 Develop and communicate the intended message and
 corporate image to members
 Set objectives, timelines, benchmarks and milestones
 Communicate with other members in their areas of
 expertise
   May include sales, marketing, executives and other
   decision makers
Berry, M. (2001). Building your web team. New Architect (1)
http://www.webtechniques.com/archives/2001/01/berry/


                                             L577: Design of Information Systems Fall „06
Design and user experience
 Design represents the intended message and
 corporate image
 The information architecture is a crucial blueprint for
 design
Content development
 Requires close interaction with client
Technology
 Programming and coding: HTML markup and
 development, scripting, DB and applications work
System and network infrastructure
Maintain the servers and systems.

                                     L577: Design of Information Systems Fall „06
An ideal web team consists of three sub-teams:
 Client-side specialists: create an attractive, clear front
 end and interface
 Server-side specialists: create a smoothly operating back
 end
 Support specialists: make sure the two sub-teams can do
 their jobs
 The total team shouldn‟t consist of more than 7 people
 One person should be responsible for project: planning,
 coordinating, communicating, oversight, accountability
Koch, P.E. (2002). The ideal web team (pt 1).
http://www.digital-web.com/columns/keepitsimple/keepitsimple_ 2003-
04.shtml


                                           L577: Design of Information Systems Fall „06
Client side work
Graphic design
 What does the site look like?
 What look-and-feel and associations does it
 communicate?
Interaction design
 Has the site been ordered logically?
 Is the navigation consistent?
 Can people find what they‟re looking for?
Koch, P.E. (2002). The ideal web team (pt 2).
http://www.digital-web.com/columns/keepitsimple/keepitsimple_
2003-04.shtml


                                          L577: Design of Information Systems Fall „06
Client side work
Copywriting
 How does the site present information?
 Is the text scannable?
  People don‟t read text; they scan it
 Is the text well written and filled with relevant links?
Client-side programming
 Do all effects and styles work?
 Is the site usable even with an ancient or rare user
 agent?
 Are any people excluded from the site?

                                       L577: Design of Information Systems Fall „06
At least half of the team members should be seniors in
their area of expertise
 They can quickly answer practical questions and devise
 workable solutions
 Less experienced members can learn from them
Each member should also have clear-cut responsibilities
 The project manager should make sure that all members
 know about each other’s responsibilities
 Everyone should understand the timeline, milestones
 and benchmarks
 The team culture should encourage members to ask each
 other for advice


                                     L577: Design of Information Systems Fall „06
Project management: Managing the team
I. About teamwork
  • The context of web-based project management
  • Groups and teams
  II. Managing teams
    • The manager’s responsibilities
    • The importance of communication
    III. Leadership and project management
       • Being a leader
       • Managing for effectiveness

                                 L577: Design of Information Systems Fall „06
• The manager‟s responsibilities
Keeping the team together
Staying current
Introducing new technologies into the group
 Giving them the opportunity to keep their skills sharp
 Assuming you know and can evaluate web technologies
Encouraging professional development
 Sending team members to conferences to participate
  It‟s good for them and good for business
 Encourage them to join user groups and take classes
  They can become part of a local community

                                     L577: Design of Information Systems Fall „06
Help the team develop its skill sets
HTML coding is going away
 Static pages are for babies
 Coders have to create dynamic pages and work with
 DBs and scripting languages
 Programmers will spend more time working with
 servers, DBs, linking them to dynamic web sites
 Application development, server-side programming,
 CGI development (tool building)
Increasing demands on creative team members
 As web site users become more sophisticated, they have
 to develop more compelling user experiences

                                       L577: Design of Information Systems Fall „06
Monitoring the team
Detecting weaknesses among the group
 This is a form of risk assessment
 How strong and cohesive is your team?
 Does the team miss deadlines?
 Are they over budget?
 How is the quality of the work?
 *Who is the weakest link?*
Study the record
 Look at time sheets, read project reports, talk to team
 members regularly

                                     L577: Design of Information Systems Fall „06
• The importance of communication
Information exchange among team members is critical to
team success
 It develops over time and requires learning and practice
Poor communication
 People from different disciplines do not have a common
 language
  Lack of mutual understanding of a common set of
  terms
   Ex: What is “quality assurance” and how can it be
   measured?
 Personality differences

                                     L577: Design of Information Systems Fall „06
Conflicting and hidden agendas
 Expert, player, opposition, clown, slacker
Ineffective meetings
 Running a good meeting is important
Lack of proximity
 It is possible to run virtual teams, but face to face
 meetings are still important
Members’ tacit assumptions about the work and each other
 If not shared, people may work at cross purposes
Poor infrastructure and support
 If the ICT is not transparent, communication will suffer

                                       L577: Design of Information Systems Fall „06
How to evaluate team communication
Can you describe the communication flows?
 Can you describe the underlying ICTs?
Can members easily handle the files they sent each other?
Does every team member know how to get in touch with
every other member?
Are there undocumented and ad hoc meetings?
 Who is getting together? Why? What results from these
 meetings?
How does a manager find out about events and problems
in the workgroup?


                                    L577: Design of Information Systems Fall „06
Documentation can help a team work more efficiently
Style guide
 Use the one that makes sense to you and make it
 available to the team
  Proscribed digital content
 APA has a 5th edition that covers digital content
Production guide
 Explains how the web site will be developed
 Describes conventions used throughout the project
 Provides members with an overview of the work flow and
 allows them to see how their work fits in

                                     L577: Design of Information Systems Fall „06
Production guides should include
 A map of the directory structure
 Functional specs
 File naming conventions
 Server information
 Target audience specs
 Coding conventions
 Programming conventions
 Rules for image formatting
 Explanation of version control
 Benchmarks and timeline

                           L577: Design of Information Systems Fall „06
Provide the team with a good communication
infrastructure
 Make sure everyone has the same software for writing
 and email
 Develop an archive of all project-related communication
  This will be digital and paper-based
 Post important documents to your secure web site
 Try to automate parts of the communication process
  For example, project management software can
  automate task monitoring



                                    L577: Design of Information Systems Fall „06
Project management: Managing the team
I. About teamwork
  • The context of web-based project management
  • Groups and teams
  II. Managing teams
    • The manager’s responsibilities
    • The importance of communication
    III. Leadership and project management
       • Being a leader
       • Managing for effectiveness

                                 L577: Design of Information Systems Fall „06
• Being a leader
Challenge: how to manage a team that can handle
continuous adaptation to change
 Without losing strategic focus
Transactional leaders work with their systems
 Focus is on rewards and exchanges in the organization
 They try to meet the needs of their teams
  This is a form of cultural maintenance
Charismatic leaders use the force of their personalities
 They tend to be persistent and committed to their long
 term goals


                                     L577: Design of Information Systems Fall „06
Leadership roles
 Coordinate team activities
 Set agendas for meetings
 Schedule work and track progress
 Motivate team members
 Anticipate, handle and resolve conflicts
 Ensure effective communication
 Be the liaison to supervisors, external decision makers,
 clients
Brown, J., and Dobbie, G. (1999). Supporting and evaluating team
dynamics in group projects. The Proceedings …. 281-285.
http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/299649.299788


                                           L577: Design of Information Systems Fall „06
Leadership involves managing people
Conflict management
 Identifying and taking steps to prevent situations that
 could result in unpleasant confrontations
 Managing and resolving conflicts and disagreements in
 a positive and constructive manner to minimize negative
 impact
Promoting diversity
 Recruiting, developing, and retaining a diverse high
 quality workforce in an equitable manner
 Leading and managing an inclusive workplace that
 maximizes talents of each person to achieve sound
 business results

                                     L577: Design of Information Systems Fall „06
Team building
 Inspiring, motivating, and guiding others toward goals
 Developing and sustaining cooperative working
 relationships
 Encouraging and facilitating cooperation within the
 organization and with customers
 Developing leadership in others by coaching,
 mentoring, rewarding, and guiding employees
Service orientation
 Creating and sustaining an organizational culture that
 encourages others to provide high quality of service
 Enabling others to acquire the tools and support they
 need to perform well

                                    L577: Design of Information Systems Fall „06
Articulating a vision for the team
 Leaders provide a realistic vision and mission for the
 team
  It addresses the needs of all of the stakeholders
  It requires depth knowledge of the project and the
  environment
  What the project is --> what it can become --> how
  the team will get there
 The team’s mission is a framework for action
  It must articulate shared values and goal and appeal
  to the major stakeholders


                                     L577: Design of Information Systems Fall „06
Then the vision must be disseminated
 All members of the team should have a copy of the
 project mission
There should be an early team meeting
 Here the leader seeks buy-in
 To gain a shared sense of broad purpose
 Should be clear about the direction and objectives and
 forceful about the means
In a sense, leadership is making meaning with a team that
is shared by the team



                                    L577: Design of Information Systems Fall „06
Managing groups to help them work effectively
How effectively groups work is generally a combination
of the following three factors:
 Level of effort
  How much effort the group applies to carry out its task
 Task performance strategies
  How do they carry out the task?
 Level and appropriateness of the skill
  What do group members bring to the task?



                                    L577: Design of Information Systems Fall „06
It is difficult to influence these three factors directly
In part, this is because of the internal characteristics of
people
 These are hard to access or change
Look for external characteristics that can be manipulated
 Behavior norms
 Task design
 Composition of the group
  These factors can be used to affect group performance
  indirectly


                                         L577: Design of Information Systems Fall „06
Changing norms is usually the best way of improving task
performance strategies
It can lead to increased effort
A leader or group can require:
 Regular attendance at meetings
 Regular reporting and accountability
Redesign the task
 Improves both effort and task performance strategies
 Introduce greater specialization of responsibilities
 Increase amount of job enrichment
 Give members tasks that fit their experience

                                     L577: Design of Information Systems Fall „06
Managing teams to help them work effectively
 Be ready to change the team‟s composition
  This means having a list you can turn to if necessary
 Use volunteers where possible
  This increases the chances that the members want to
  be working on the project
 Try to ensure that the team has representatives from
 different departments
  If this is not possible, try to maintain contact with the
  different departments
 Try to have at least some more experienced workers
  This increases the possibility that mentoring occurs

                                       L577: Design of Information Systems Fall „06
Problems with teams
A major problem is groupthink
 Conformity: going along with or behaving in a way
 consistent with the majority
 Compliance: changing attitudes or beliefs as a result of
 group peer pressure
 Particularly common in long-established groups
  Tends to arise in “us versus them” situations
  Severe self-censorship and group pressures to conform
  “Mind-guards” deny or ridicule dissenting opinions
 Can blind group to facts and reasoning useful in making
 a decision

                                     L577: Design of Information Systems Fall „06
Managerial problems
 Disagreements among the members may result in an
 inability to reach a decision
 Calling it a team but managing members as individuals
 Failing to maintain the balance of authority between
 management and the team
 Failing to provide the team with appropriate amounts
 of structure for accomplishing the task
 Failing to provide organizational supports for
 accomplishing challenging team objectives
 Assuming members have the required competence to
 work well as a team


                                    L577: Design of Information Systems Fall „06
Overcoming groupthink
Dealing with false consensus
 Encourage critical evaluation from members
 If you lead, reinforce this by accepting criticism of your
 own ideas as well as those of other members
  Try to begin impartially by describing the problem
  without taking a position
  Encourage critical evaluation from members
 Use other groups in the organization, or sub groups of
 your own group to work on the same issue in parallel
 Invite outside experts
 Assign a group member to a role of devil‟s advocate

                                      L577: Design of Information Systems Fall „06
Sometime a team needs “deviant thinking”
This can be particularly important when
 The team needs lots of ideas
  For example, there is a complex problem that must be
  attacked from many points
 The decision is important or controversial
 When the group is brand new or very old
 The problem is ill-defined




                                    L577: Design of Information Systems Fall „06

				
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