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How to Appraise Team Performance

10 Mar

As this is my last blog, I thought I would talk about evaluating team performance.
It is important to evaluate the work that has been done throughout the project and at the end. Evaluations help to show up people who are not contributing to the project.

Group appraisal can be very difficult.You have to consider several factors when evaluating a team such as group dynamics, leadership, interpersonal relationships, logistics and coordination. “The disadvantage is that team appraisals have to be done on a regular basis to justify implementing an evaluation method that meets the needs of the supervisor who’s rating the team’s performance.”
The supervisor needs a method they find suitable for the team and the project.

Feedback is essential for appraisals.They help members to see where they are going wrong and can ensure they are doing the job in a more efficient way. You have to remain unbiased and neutral when giving feedback.You have to consider how the receiver is going to process the feedback.

You should have team assessment reports that are supplemented with individualised reports. You could also get the team to have a group diary. This is handy if there are any problems or conflicts between team members.
“This way you are able to give the high producing team members the feedback and recognition they are looking for and deserve.”

Another method is a 360o Review: Each individual team member evaluates both their own performance as well as the performance of other members of the team. It is important to remind team members to just evaluate the quality of the work and how they got on throughout the project.

Sources:http://work.chron.com/advantages-two-disadvantages-using-team-appraisals-6341.html
http://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newTMM_84.htm

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How to be a good team member

10 Mar

“Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.” Henry Ford

Being a good team player helps a project succeed. There are several aspects that contribute to being a good team member and here are just 6 of them.

Reliable
In a team you should feel like you can depend on the other members.You want someone who’ll do their fair share of the work and meet the goals/objectives set out for them.The key is consistency. They should deliver a high quality performance all the time, not just some of the time.

Communicative
As any article will tell you, you can not be a good team member without clear communication.You should remain objective and refrain from letting your emotions get the best of you.When conveying your message you should be respectful of other people and the work they have done.You should feel free to share your opinion whether it is some constructive criticism or an inspiring idea.

Good Listener
This is an essential part of communication.It helps the team function properly. As well as expressing ideas you should listen to the other members of your team. Their thoughts and opinions could prove invaluable.
“Most important, for effective communication and problem solving, team members need the discipline to listen first and speak second so that meaningful dialogue results.”

Flexible
Business and I.S projects are consistently changing so team members have to be able to adapt and change with it.You have to mould yourself into the team and re-evaluate your role from time to time to ensure you are contributing all you can.

Problem Solver
Team players deal with problems head on and do not avoid them.They do not point fingers when something goes wrong,instead they try to come up with a solution.
“Team players get problems out in the open for discussion and then collaborate with others to find solutions and from action plans.”

Supportive
Team players support the other members in the team to get the work done. They give them back up when they have good ideas and give them confidence.
“They do not place conditions on when they will provide assistance, when they will choose to listen, and when they will share information.”

Sources:http://www.dummies.com/how-to/content/ten-qualities-of-an-effective-team-player.html
http://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newTMM_53.htm
http://info.shine.com/Career-Advice-Articles/Leadership-Teamwork/10-tips-to-be-a-good-team-player/1092/cid31.aspx

Team Roles Within Agile Development

10 Mar

As previously mentioned in my last blog, SDLC is a popular process use by IS project teams to achieve their goals. However SDLC might not be suitable for all projects. SDLC can be at times quite complicated and sometimes may have excessive documentation causing confusion among members of a team. The relationship with their end-user members of the team may not be as strong also. This is where Agile Development becomes popular as a process for IS projects. They prefer having less documentation to avoid complicity and they like it keep objectives feasible or KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid). Their relationship with the end-user in contrast with SDLC is quite strong as they form strict contrasts and quickly develop any necessary changes for their clients.

One example of an Agile Development where team roles are seen throughout is that of Scrum development. Here are just some of its team roles.

Product manager

This member represents the customer’s interest, they also represent the long and short term product vision of the product line. Their challenges include resisting the temptation to add more work, it is an agile software development system therefore it must be kept simple.

Architect

This team member leads the technical direction of the overall team. They ensure design goals such as performance, reliability, maintainability, re usability, internationalization and accessibility are met. As well as leading the design they also provide feedback

Engineering Manager

Their role is to ensure the successful completion of Work-in-progress (WIP) and to understand the process of product creation. They are responsible for motivating their team and removing bottlenecks that would slow down the team’s process. They also work closely with the architect to prove technical integrity.

Product Developer

This is an important role for the team. They are responsible for the actual creation of the project. They estimate the size of backlog items and translation of backlog items into engineering design and logical units of work (tasks).

 

Sources: cathaldoyle.com

http://aaron.sanders.name/agile-fashion/agile-team-members-roles-and-responsibilities#Product_Manager_aka_Product_Owne

http://agilemanifesto.org/

 

 

Team Roles Within a SDLC

10 Mar

SDLC (System Development Life Cycle) is a process of creating, altering information systems and the models and methodologies that people use to develop these systems. This process is quite popular among teams in IS project as it eases the process of building an IS system, it reduces system failures or its possibility of not meeting the end-users needs. Because there are so many members involved in the process of IS projects, it is not surprising that different goals and objectives can be seen by different people. SDLC comes into play here to organise certain phases and to allow proper communication between members. There are five phases:

1.       Planning

This is the initial phase of any SDLC. Team roles such as leaders and managers are involved here. They identity a problem and plan a way in which why to solve it, and to see the feasibility of it. This is also the phase where teams and their roles are constructed. This is a vital phase for every team member to know their position and goal.

2.       Analysis

This is the phase where the role of system analysts becomes most prominent. Their task is to analyse what the problem is by asking questions such as why the problem exists, and what is the most feasible way to solve it. They study and collect data from old or other related systems and set out objects for the new system.

3.       Design

In this phase system designers have an important role in how they fulfil user requirements. Physical and logical design occurs here. It is also where system security is established and an implementation date is set here.

4.       Implementation

This is where the actual coding of the IS project takes place. Test runs occur here to spot any problems and to eliminate them. It is here where the system is finally implemented and team members are trained into understanding and fixing any problems with the system.

5.       Maintenance

It is a common occurrence that bugs and flaws are seen within the system after it is implemented. It is in this phase therefore that the team role of maintenance occurs here to rectify any problems or update the system as they have been taught to do so.

Sources: cathaldoyle.com

http://www.sdlc.ws/waterfall-model/

Team roles in IS projects

10 Mar

Role of the systems designer

The role of the systems designer is to define and develop systems which satisfy specified requirements of the user. These requirements have usually been passed onto them by the systems analyst. To achieve this, they must create both a logical and physical design.

A logical design is the conceptual blueprint of a software application, illustrating entities, relationships, rules, and processes. The aim here is to construct a relational schema that correctly and efficiently represents all of the information described by an entity-relationship schema produced during the conceptual design phase.

The physical design is concerned with the input and output processes of the system. The key issues here are how the data is input into the system and how this data is then verified. It also deals with how it is processed and displayed as output. It is here where they choose an appropriate database management system (DBMS) and establish the system security standards. They also decide on the interface design, data capture requirements, standards for printed report production and system navigation methods.

The physical portion of systems design can be divided up into three sub-tasks:

  1. User      Interface Design
  2. Data      Design
  3. Process      Design

User interface design deals with how users add information to the system and how this information is then presented back to them by the system. Data design is refers to how the data is represented and stored within the system. The process design then deals with how data moves through the system, and with how and where it is validated, secured and transformed as it flows into, through and out of the system.

The systems designers utilise a number of other design methods also such as rapid application development (RAD) and joint application design (JAD). RAD is whereby a systems designer develops prototypes for an end-user to review and offer feedback. This is repeated until the end-user is satisfied with the final system. JAD is an evolution of RAD. Here the designer consults with a group consisting of the executive sponsor, subject matter experts and the managers of the system. The group collectively develops an agreed pattern for the design and implementation of the system.

Once these tasks have been completed they must pass their designs onto the programmers, who in turn convert the physical design specifications into a working computer code. The designers also continue to test the system to ensure it is working properly.

Sources: cathaldoyle.com & Definition of a logical design | logical design

End-users: The Outsider Team Member

10 Mar

One might think that the only members in an IS project is that of only those within an organisation. However the consumers or users of what the IS teams intend to create are also members of the IS project. If there are no end-users then there would be no one to use what comes out of the project, therefore the project would become useless. It is because of this that members within the organisation see the end user as an important part of the project. With an ever changing society, the demands of the end users can change spontaneously therefore team members within the organisation must keep studying the needs and desires of the end users in order to satisfy them and attract them to their project. Because of this there are considered a great source a feedback for an IS project.

Team managers and team leaders study current information is studied such as consumer demand and sales. If the trends of the end-user changes certain projects can be changed or discontinued in order to adapt to these changes. Research is also carried out on competition here and what steps can be done in dealing with it.

One question that is frequently asked is who creates the projects that the end–users receive. This can range from in-house applications, software packages, internet-based application services (web services) and outsourcing.

Another question asked is who are these end-users? On organisational levels these can range from top and middle managers, team leaders and supervisors and operational employees. On business function they range from marketing, production, sales accounting, information technology and human resources.

With all the examples shown of the many end-user developers and users, and with their importance shown with in an IS project, it is clear that it is one of the major team roles within the project.

Team Leaders: The different types of leaders

9 Mar

Team leaders are seen as highly ranked when it comes to the role of IS teams. They are the driving force of other members and they help motivate others to achieve the goal of a project. Seeing as it is such an important diverse role it is not surprising to see that there are many different types of leaders and many ways to use their skills. There are four main domains of leadership strength. They are as follows;

1.       Executing

These leaders must be skilled at executing their work. When an individual is needed to finish their part of the project, the leader motivates them to do this. This must try to focus on the better ideas of their fellow colleges, focusing on it and make it a reality. This is also where the planning skills of the leader comes into play. They usually are disciplined and will work tirelessly to achieve a goal.

2.       Influencing

Influencing is another domain of leadership skills. They work on a wider audience trying to sell their ideas inside the project teams and outside it. They have the strength to speak out in group providing confidence for the team and prioritise objectives for the team.

3.       Relationship Building

This domain if for the leaders who prioritise the relationships of all members of the team. They have the ability to create great teams that work efficiently and with feasibility together. They encourage their colleges to create new ideas, as some team members may fear promoting their ideas as they don’t want them rejected or criticised. Their traits usually include high energy, work hard to minimise distractions and work hard to get all members involved and promote communication.

4.       Strategic Thinking

These types of leaders look into the future of what the consequences of their actions are. Because of this, they are constantly absorbing and analysing the data they receive. It is here also that the leader is always organising in order to create feasabilty to access of all information.

Of course any leader is not limited to just one of these domains. An effective leader may have traits of all these domains if not all. The diversity of these traits is what makes a good leader and crucial role in the team and to help the group achieve their IS projects.

Sources: cathaldoyle.com

http://businessjournal.gallup.com/content/113338/what-makes-great-leadership-team.aspx#2

 

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