Tuesday, February 7, 2012

2013 TKR: TEAM: Tools for organizing a group project: SWGs

Special Working Groups:  SWGs
Tools for organizing a group project
Special Working Group (SWG)
A SWG is a group formed to carry out a specific task.  It is usually formed as part of an action item from the main steering group.   The people in the SWG will usually be people with strong interest in the action item or people with the skills/powers needed to complete the action item.  In a world-wide context, the people in the group may also be people in time zones compatible with synchronous meetings.

The responsibility for organizing the group is usually given to to the person accepting the action item.    

Special Working Group (SWG) 
  • Objective: Coordinate plans, allocate resources,  organize collaboration.
  • Participants: Ideally at least one person from each SWG. 
  • Executes an action item from the steering committee.
  • Sends progress reports to the steering committee. 
How do you use SWGs?  
  • Give the action item to the people best prepared to deal with it. 
  • Avoid spending group time on an effort that needs only a few people.
  • Let the SWG be organized to meet schedule need.
  • If there are disputes, put disputing parties in the SWG to settle it there. 
  • The SWG will break down the task into subtasks 
Template agenda for detail SWG meeting

  • Reports on previous action items
  • Listing of blockers on previous action items
  • Determination of how to deal with each blocker
  • Assessment of current  status and future path to goal
  • Distribution and acceptance of new or renewed action items.
  • Written record of action items and who has each. Distributed as minutes.
  • Meeting Agenda.  TODO list for the meeting. 
  • Personal agenda.   Goals of a particular person for the meeting 
  • Group roles.   Type of actions that regularly appear in task oriented meetings
  • Group Maintenance Roles.  Types of actions that regularly foster cooperation in a group
  • Group Task Roles.  Types of actions that regularly foster progress on the task of a group
  • Group Leadership Roles: Types of actions related to organizing and managing the group operations.
  • Facilitator.  Person responsible for encouraging the group to take actions known to foster  effective functioning.
  • Action Items.  Concrete actions to be done by a specific person
  • Action item, accepted.  A concrete task accepted as a responsibility by a specific person.
  • Brainstorming.   A technique for generating ideas in a small group.
  • Planning: Develop list of concrete actions needed to reach the project goal.
  • Evaluate plans: Assess the benefits, costs, and prospects of alternative plans
  • Special Working Group (SWG):  Ad hoc group taking a single action item.
  • Delegate: Turn over a task or group role to a specific person or SWG 
Self managed team
The main idea of the self-managed team is that the leader does not operate with positional authority. In a traditional management role, the manager is responsible for providing instruction, conducting communication, developing plans, giving orders, and disciplining and rewarding employees, and making decisions by virtue of his or her position. In this organisational model, the manager delegates specific responsibility and decision-making authority to the team itself, in the hope that the group will make better decisions than any individual. Neither a manager nor the team leader make independent decisions in the delegated responsibility area. Decisions are typically made by consensus in successful self-managed teams, by voting in very large or formal teams, and by hectoring and bullying in unsuccessful teams. The team as a whole is accountable for the outcome of its decisions and actions.
Essential group maintenance roles
  • Time KeeperWatches the time reminds the group of time limitations.
  • Recorder:  Keeps and distributes record of group decisions

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