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  • 1.  Teamwork and collaboration

    Posted 03-25-2021 08:53 PM

    When I was growing up, team work was not part of school curriculum. This, combined with my personality, made all kinds of team work and group projects not come naturally to me later in life. My instincts are to crawl into a hole, 'figure it out' myself, and then, maybe, share the findings. Other times, the way I work in groups is more like the concept of parallel play, which is how young children play next to each other before they learn to play with each other. It is easier when someone (it could even be me) manages the project or if it can be broken into individual tasks, or if the work is 'straight-forward' such as conducting a field sampling event together. I am happy to see that for my son, who is in elementary school, working on a project in small groups is the most natural thing and his favorite mode.  

    What's your experience with working in a team? Does it come naturally? Do you enjoy it? What are the challenges? Are there any tips for making it work? 

    Natalya Sokolovskaya P.E., M.ASCE
    Wynnewood PA

  • 2.  RE: Teamwork and collaboration

    Posted 03-26-2021 08:45 AM
    I think a Scrum or Kanban approach works fine. It can accommodate solitary individuals as long as there is regular communication (stand ups) with the rest of the team to make sure the project is going in the right direction.


  • 3.  RE: Teamwork and collaboration

    Posted 03-26-2021 12:49 PM
    Thanks James,
    I wasn't aware of these methods (except in 'Silicone valley' series) and it was fun to look them up.

    Natalya Sokolovskaya P.E., M.ASCE
    Wynnewood PA

  • 4.  RE: Teamwork and collaboration

    Posted 03-26-2021 02:33 PM
    Edited by Tirza Austin 03-30-2021 06:19 PM
    Regards / Dermod
    Dermod Wood, PhD
    +1 (908) 310-9667
    110 Perryville Road, Pittstown, NJ, USA
    Office: +1 908 998-2388
    Cell: +1 908 310-9667
    Skype: dermodwood

  • 5.  RE: Teamwork and collaboration

    Posted 03-29-2021 05:46 PM
    Edited by Tirza Austin 03-29-2021 05:45 PM

    Hi Natalya, thanks for the questions founded on a "TEAMWORK AND COLLABORATION" platform.

    The context for my response is a firm of architects & engineers who compete in a marketplace against other E/A firms for projects/programs.

    So, once a contract for their services is secured, a varied group of professionals are assigned to collaborate, communicate, and cooperate with each other such that the individual and collective work of this group meets the project's quality requirements, first time, every time!

    Q1.What's your experience with working in a team?

    First, it is premature to call a group assigned to work together a "Team" in the absence of

    their project work experiences together, i.e., Where's the evidence of teamwork?

    Q2. Does it come naturally?

    For some, 'yes.' For most other engineers, 'no.' Search "MBTI for Engineers."

    Q3. Do you enjoy it?

    See Q2. above.

    Q4. What are the challenges?

    Learning to stop asserting yourself. . .or staying silent… and proactively seeking opinions from others.

    Q5.Are there any tips for making it work? 

    Informed practice, feedback, and more practice.

    • SUGGESTED ACTION: Go to PMI.org and ASQ.org and search their advice.


    Stay Healthy!



    William M. Hayden Jr., Ph.D., P.E., CMQ/OE, F.ASCE
    Buffalo, N.Y.

    "It is never too late to be what you might have been." -- George Eliot 1819 - 1880

  • 6.  RE: Teamwork and collaboration

    Posted 03-30-2021 11:09 AM

    I vary on how I respond being on a team based on the team environment.  I can work well on teams when the environment projects confidence & trust, but when environments lack those qualities I have the same instincts as you.

    A book that I've found really helpful is "Speed of Trust" by Stephen Covey. That book has helped me build the confidence in myself to initiate trust building within the team, which in return has helped break the ice and make communication among the team easier. Successful teams I've been on had that ability to communicate, compromise, and trust one another while teams I call "unsuccessful" typically had individuals who tried making power moves to get a design in the matter that benefits them only, wouldn't share information or would share information at the wrong time that might result in hours of rework, etc. Overall I enjoy working on teams but other times...... yeah.....

    Jay Garth P.E.
    Structural Engineer I
    Progressive AE

    EWB: An Engineering Culture Shift
    Grand Rapids, MI

  • 7.  RE: Teamwork and collaboration

    Posted 03-30-2021 05:42 PM
    Hi Natalya, I spent a good portion of my career as a either a team member or team leader. I was fortunate in that most of my experience was positive. Furthermore, some of my most satisfying times were from team related. Working hard to achieve a shared goal is tremendously satisfying. There are also many downsides as you and others have enumerated. I think teams and teamwork are essential for personal  and career development and career development and would encourage you to embrace. Some thoughts (not intended to be exhaustive) from my own experience, that might be helpful for setting expectations and managing one's participation, follow below.

    Good team leaders

    • Manage underperformance
    • Recognize contributions of team members
    • Leverage skills, experience, and knowledge of team members
    • Don't play favorites
    • Ensure all voices are heard
    • Help the team see the bigger picture

    Good team members

    • See the end in mind and how their contribution fits
    • Are mutually supportive of other team members
    • Meet or exceed deliverables while meeting deadlines
    • Come to meetings prepared
    • Contribute at meetings – show they are interested and motivated

    Other Thoughts

    • Pick your battles. You don't have to win every point, but equally know when to be persistent
    • Offer ideas and input as suggestions and  back up with why care or so what
    • Help to keep the team on task. Everybody can play a role of keeping the team on point.
    • Be open minded to ideas and input from others
    • Offer to take notes – use the power of the pen
    • Look for other opportunities to take an informal leadership role – especially if you have leadership aspirations

    Mitch Winkler P.E., M.ASCE
    Houston, TX