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Effective Collaboration in a
Coordinated Process of Design


Later, maybe in mid-2014, this page will be developed more fully.  Until then, some basic principles are in Collaboration & Communication and Developing a Creative-and-Critical Community.*  (other links)

* A basic claim (made by many experts, in business, education, psychology,...) is that working in groups can stimulate productive thinking.  But... usually teamwork must be carefully designed, facilitated, and actualized, to take advantage of opportunities.   {a disclaimer:  I'm not an expert in this area, but I think these ideas are important, so I am acknowledging its importance, sharing a few principles, and linking to web-resources with useful information.  And more will be here later.}


Here are some ideas that will be in this page, quoted from Teaching and Coordinating for a Design Team:


Coordination of Design-Actions (in Mode 4A) by a Supervisor

This always involves a Coordinating of Project Actions (in Modes 1A-4A), and principles for doing it well are in Coordinating Design-Actions`.

Sometimes it also involves a Coordinating of Project People in a design team if you are a supervisor, or a team member who is serving as an unofficial leader.  A basic coordinating of design-actions is similar for your own actions or a team's actions, except for a team you ask "what is the best use of [everyone's] time right now [and later]?"  Coordinating the design-actions of your team members can be done by direct decisions (if you decide what they should do and when) and indirect delegation (if you give them responsbility for some of their own action-decisions), in whatever balance you think will be most effective, when all things are considered.  As described above, you use the two parts of a Teaching Strategy, appropriately adapted for the context of your project and people, by encouraging your team members to develop & use their own Strategies for Learning-and-Performance (in #1, for delegated responsibilities) and (in #2) by developing & using your own Supervising Strategies (analogous to Teaching Strategies) to improve your learning-and-performance.


Producing Teamwork:  When a group works on a design project, everyone* — especially the leaders, official and unofficial — should consider the social aspects of the process.  They should design strategies for optimizing their use of resources (people, time, money, knowledge,...) in a way that helps individuals enjoy their work and gain satisfaction from it, while building an “us” feeling in the group with good attitudes toward each other, as co-workers and as people.  Doing this well requires skillful cognition plus aware “external metacognition” in the social context of their working environment.   /   Those being supervised also play valuable roles by doing their jobs with skill, and being good team members.

Overcoming Challenges:  A group may have to cope with the pressures of a difficult project when their work is constrained by the limitations of time deadlines and resource budgets.  There might be interpersonal tensions between some people, or institutional structures that hinder teamwork.  Any of these factors, and others, can put a strain on individuals, their relationships, and the teamwork;  in addition to the harmful personal effects for the people involved, the practical effects for a business can be a decrease in the effectiveness of a design process and the quality of a resulting solution.  Supervisors and other leaders, as part of their official or unofficial responsibilities, can try to develop strategies for achieving the best possible process-of-design and results-of-design, in ways that are also personally beneficial for the people on their team.