The trials and tribulations of Team Drowning Fish didn't actually involve much water…
One things I want to discuss was my teams decision not to appoint a leader. It was a big’un that had both positive and negative outcomes. Giving us equal power in the team meant that we made decisions in unity. Everything was discussed as a whole, so the final level had all of our input and personalities in. This point had a drawback however. Having numerous weekly meetings meant we spent too much time talking and not enough time getting the work done.
One point that was made was that the whole team had big personalities, so we should all have an equal say. I think, to a degree, this worked out. Having confident team members meant the ideas kept churning and problems were always dealt with head on rather than skirted around because of shyness. This however had a huge drawback.. Big personalities mean there will always be an element of competition to have your say. Unfortunately this was very evident in our team. Members often found it hard to communicate when it came to certain aspects of the project and this often lead to disagreements. At the height of this friction there was a big argument in the labs that left all of the team split apart and we never really mended after that.
I think I am fairly good in social situations and as both of my parents are child psychologists (imagine growing up in that environment) I’ve been taught from an early age how to deal with different people and act appropriately when an individual is angry or unhappy. This knowledge helped me and awful lot in the team project. Working in a team is all about compromise and communication and our team had problems with the former. Half of the group believed we should go one way, the other half disagreed. Often this resulted in two separate paths being taken and having to patch up the mess in the end, which wasted time and patience on all fronts. A leader would have been much better in this situation, as the final decision would be up to them, and the team could work as a whole again.
In conclusion, I think it would have been better to have a team leader appointed. Towards the end, one member acted as leader anyway as is natural when a group of people have to work in a team. It would have been easier to appoint this member as team leader in the first place, as they would have gained respect rather than having to lead from a sheltered point constantly being berated for any decisions he had to make on his own! This would have added structure to our meetings too, as we ended up going on a tangent for hours on end about something off topic.
I enjoyed the social side of this project. Having a group there to discuss ideas and problems with really motivated me into getting my work done. The support structure a team provides really leads to quicker growth, I could feel myself absorbing everything my team mates told me like a sponge. It was lovely working with such knowledgeable people, and the stress of deadlines really brings you closer as friends. On the other hand, working with other students is HELL . It was certainly a useful experience in preparation for the industry though, even if I have lost most of my soul in the process.