collaborative group structures

14 Mar 2008 - 6:45am
6 years ago
3 replies
638 reads
Mark Schraad
2006

There is a lot of conversation about working collaboratively on this
board. Mostly regarding results and software to facilitate. I have
identified four basic structures for group work that I am intimately
familiar with. I am curious what people are participating in, and if
there are other derivations?

A) Group think
Multiple people in a group. Disciplines might vary. The group marches
forward in lock step... while there may be diverse opinions, the
group makes democratic decisions. This is essentially 6 people
working as one.

B) Group Input
This is primarily one lead designer, with a regular cast of others
that provide constant or frequent feedback and ideas. The decision
process, however, is centralized as the lead has final say and
ownership.

C) Diverse team
This group has distinct roles that are not duplicated such as... IA,
UX, Visual, Product, Project, Engineering, Dev... The decisions of
general direction are made as a group, specific decisions are made by
the designated expert.

D) Waterfall
This is really group work in name only. Each individual does their
specific job in sequence following the lead of either product or
project management.

Just curious... what do you participate in? What would you prefer?
What is been most successful in your experience? And are there other
varieties?

Thanks,

Mark
PS - I realize this is rather simplistic... but this venue kind of
screams for contrast of ideas.

Comments

14 Mar 2008 - 8:26am
Matt Nish-Lapidus
2007

At my small company we're somewhere between A and B ... we do a lot of
work as a single unit, all giving input into the various components,
but then we break off to perform tasks based on our specialties and
each take ownership of our own piece. The final decision is left up
to the "specialist" even though the initial direction was decided as a
group, and there are usually a couple large stakeholders who challenge
all our decisions :)

As for tools, we're using the Google Apps premium suite and it's
worked great for us. Shared docs take care of all collaborative
writing, the shared calendars are great for scheduling, and now with
Sites we can make pages with inspirations and references... it works
for us.

Matt.

On Fri, Mar 14, 2008 at 7:45 AM, mark schraad <mschraad at gmail.com> wrote:
> There is a lot of conversation about working collaboratively on this
> board. Mostly regarding results and software to facilitate. I have
> identified four basic structures for group work that I am intimately
> familiar with. I am curious what people are participating in, and if
> there are other derivations?
>
> A) Group think
> Multiple people in a group. Disciplines might vary. The group marches
> forward in lock step... while there may be diverse opinions, the
> group makes democratic decisions. This is essentially 6 people
> working as one.
>
> B) Group Input
> This is primarily one lead designer, with a regular cast of others
> that provide constant or frequent feedback and ideas. The decision
> process, however, is centralized as the lead has final say and
> ownership.
>
> C) Diverse team
> This group has distinct roles that are not duplicated such as... IA,
> UX, Visual, Product, Project, Engineering, Dev... The decisions of
> general direction are made as a group, specific decisions are made by
> the designated expert.
>
> D) Waterfall
> This is really group work in name only. Each individual does their
> specific job in sequence following the lead of either product or
> project management.
>
> Just curious... what do you participate in? What would you prefer?
> What is been most successful in your experience? And are there other
> varieties?
>
> Thanks,
>
> Mark
> PS - I realize this is rather simplistic... but this venue kind of
> screams for contrast of ideas.

--
Matt Nish-Lapidus
work: matt at bibliocommons.com / www.bibliocommons.com
--
personal: mattnl at gmail.com

14 Mar 2008 - 2:00pm
Christine Boese
2006

You left out Scrum, where everybody pretends to work together, but is really
just playing rugby <G>.

In the end, they sprint and sprint and sprint, and end up in a big dog pile,
with the smallest person squished on the bottom. (that was me, back in the
day, because I played hooker)

On Fri, Mar 14, 2008 at 7:45 AM, mark schraad <mschraad at gmail.com> wrote:

> There is a lot of conversation about working collaboratively on this
> board. Mostly regarding results and software to facilitate. I have
> identified four basic structures for group work that I am intimately
> familiar with. I am curious what people are participating in, and if
> there are other derivations?
>
> A) Group think
> Multiple people in a group. Disciplines might vary. The group marches
> forward in lock step... while there may be diverse opinions, the
> group makes democratic decisions. This is essentially 6 people
> working as one.
>
> B) Group Input
> This is primarily one lead designer, with a regular cast of others
> that provide constant or frequent feedback and ideas. The decision
> process, however, is centralized as the lead has final say and
> ownership.
>
> C) Diverse team
> This group has distinct roles that are not duplicated such as... IA,
> UX, Visual, Product, Project, Engineering, Dev... The decisions of
> general direction are made as a group, specific decisions are made by
> the designated expert.
>
> D) Waterfall
> This is really group work in name only. Each individual does their
> specific job in sequence following the lead of either product or
> project management.
>
> Just curious... what do you participate in? What would you prefer?
> What is been most successful in your experience? And are there other
> varieties?
>
> Thanks,
>
> Mark
> PS - I realize this is rather simplistic... but this venue kind of
> screams for contrast of ideas.
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help
>

14 Mar 2008 - 2:54pm
Jeff Howard
2004

I think there's a distinction to be made between collaboration and
cooperation. The latter is more about a "division of labor" in
which individuals (or groups) associate informally and work in
parallel toward a common goal. Collaboration sets the bar higher.
It's about mutual engagement and real-time coordination to solve a
problem. Whiteboarding or brainstorming are good examples.

The early days of Wikipedia presented an extreme example of
decentralized cooperation. A very loose association working toward
individual local goals but a common community goal. I think that's a
fifth model. Maybe call it "Open Source."

I think most teams mix a little cooperation and collaboration, but
remote work is almost always cooperative.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=27072

Syndicate content Get the feed