Week 7 — Performing
During week 7, everyone seems to be a bit knackered from the previous week’s crunch, especially Josh (reminder: who helpfully took over pitch video creation duties, which I was going to do if everyone got me their assets by 3PM, but only reached me just before 6PM, upon which time I’m onto the kids’ bedtime routine). He managed to have our pitch video ready with only a few minutes to spare before our slot.
That said, our team was performing that afternoon, as we reached our goal of not doing a live pitch, but preparing a video instead, and we did it all and survived. (Although, poor Josh was burnt out.)
To be completely honest, though… as a freelancer/contractor, I have to be a self-starter, and I’m used to working with other self-starters, who communicate well (update task trackers often, share daily work, and write things down in shared docs), and who take notes, and who can pick up their tasks and run with them (e.g. if a team member was interested in testing a certain technology for a prototype, then going ahead and creating a Github repo, getting something working, then sharing the Github link with the team, but also do a show&tell). As such, I’ve not put that much emphasis on deadlines, chasing people, etc. I kind of expected everyone to just get on with their bit, which was possibly a mistake. Of course, if I run a studio one day, I’ll be on top of things as much as possible, as real money will be involved. And we’re all here in our spare time, not working for money, so it would be awkward if an individual in the team started chasing folks and possibly making them feel bad for missing weekly deadlines.
I also have to learn to find a way to communicate even better. For instance, at the start, in one of our early meetings, I made a comment about envisioning the final product, then imagining all the work that went into it, and trying to work backwards from that point to identify tasks. However, only when the supervisor mentioned it again many weeks later, the penny dropped for a lot of folks.
I suppose in a real company, a motivated leader will ensure these methodologies and strategies are captured in handbooks, and repeated often throughout the quarter, to really drive it home with the employees. In this module, we just don’t have time for such things.
Also, a good leader will make it very clear to everyone exactly what’s required of them, and have them repeat it back to ensure they understand.
Anyway, we’re doing fine. I’m aware a couple of the team are still busy with the previous module (resubmissions), one of us has the job from hell, and well… you know my story already ;-) (hint: in temporary accommodation, 2 small kids, day job)
We are by no means “stuck” (Katzenbach and Smith 2015: 151-71), but the context of a university module and the fact that we all have other more pressing responsibilities, makes this project a bit of a weird one to get behind for most. Perhaps there’s some feedback in there somewhere for the university: find a way to get folks to have more skin in the game. My motivation is to have done my bit, and then pass the module, but perhaps there could be more real-world objectives. E.g. each team should make an effort to pitch to an angel/investor of their choice (not chosen by the uni); and/or each team should aim to get some manner of financial commitment from at least one angel. BUT, these ideas are still-born, aren’t they? No sensible angel/investor will give us the time of day if they know they’re only being pitched a uni project which isn’t going to go anywhere. It would be very unprofessional to waste someone’s time like that. See the dilemma?
Weekly development log
No responses yet from the requests made on Friday. Trying to set up a SWOT board on Miro as per week 7’s spark forum, but one of the team first has to delete an unused board as Miro has a 3-board limit on the free plan. (In the end, I create my own space for 3 new free boards and create the SWOT there.)
Had team catch-up. We decided to cut it short, as we all have some personal work and blogging to catch up on (also, an absence). Glad to see the team’s participating in the retro.
I participated some more in the team retrospectives I created on EasyRetro (FunRetro n.d.), and noticed another suggestion to turn our product into a platform. Judging by how far we got in 6 weeks, and the fact that we have 6 weeks left, immediately sounded some alarm bells as this being something we should attempt to implement, but rather allude to in our pitch as a future income stream.
We had a team catch-up, during which we did a SWOT analysis (“SWOT Analysis: – How to Develop a Strategy For Success” n.d.). I feel like we didn’t have enough knowledge of our own company, our competitors, and the market to make informed analyses. We did, however, get through the exercise, and came up with a few actionable points, so we were glad we did the analysis in the end.
Looking into SWOT analysis a bit more introduced me to similar concepts like WOTS-UP analysis, and TOWS analysis (“History of SWOT Analysis” n.d.).
- FUNRETRO, EasyRetro former. n.d. “Improve Your Team with Fun Sprint Retrospectives.” EasyRetro former FunRetro. Available at: https://easyretro.io/ [accessed 1 Jul 2021].
- KATZENBACH, Jon R and Douglas K SMITH. 2015. The Wisdom of Teams: Creating the High-Performance Organization.
Unlabelled images are Copyright 2020 Juan M Uys, and are for decorative purposes only.