Team Project Handbook
Table of Contents Page
1. Introduction 2
2. Summary of Team Deliverables 2
3. Let Me Introduce Myself Worksheet (Individual) 3
4. Reading: Team Building Tools for Students (Questions are on p.10) 4
5. Draft Team Contract (Vision, Goals, Project Plan & Charter) 11
6. Team Project Check-In Form (Individual) 13
7. Team Case: Crosstown (Questions are on p. 17) 14
8. Case Analysis Report Guidelines and Project Marking Criteria 18
9. Peer Evaluation 19
1 1. Introduction
Two of goals of MHR523 are that, by the end of the course, you are able to describe the
key elements of effective teamwork, and that you develop basic teamwork skills, such as the
ability to develop an effective team contract, and the ability to critique your own team process.
We hope you will accomplish these goals by; a) learning about key principles of effective
teamwork (lecture and reading), b) by analyzing a complex human resources management case
as a team, and c) by actively participating in team building exercises and assignments, both
during your seminar and outside of class.
Each student will be randomly assigned to a team of 5 students during Seminar 2. If the
student enrolls in the class at a later date, he or she is responsible for joining a team no later than
Seminar 3. No student will be permitted to remain in the course if they have not joined a team by
2. Summary of Team Deliverables
Due in Seminar 2: Complete and bring a hard copy of “Let Me Introduce Myself” (p. 3)
Due in Seminar 3: Read “Team Building Tools for Students” (p. 4-10) and hand in your
answers to the three questions on page 9.
Between Seminar 3 and Seminar 5: You will need to devote at least 2 hours outside of class (in
team meetings) between Seminars 3 and 5. At the meeting (s) you will be expected to discuss
and complete the first draft of your Team Contract (p. 11)
Due in Seminar 5: Team Assignment-Part 1:Your first draft of your Team Contract (Vision,
Goals, Project Plan & Charter) signed by all team members. Use the soft version on BB to type
your report, print it off and hand it in to your seminar leader in Seminar 5. Max length is 5 pages,
Due in Seminar 6: Hand in Team Assignment-Part 2: Your completed, individual “Team
Check-In Report” and circulate it to your teammates for discussion outside of class and for
inclusion in your Group Process Report, due in Seminar 9.
Due in Seminar 9: Team Assignment-Part 3: Your Case Analysis Report and your “Team
Process Report” including your final Team Contract. Your report (excluding Appendices and
Group Process Report) should be approximately 20 pages, double-spaced.
Due in Seminar 10: Team Assignment-Part 4: Your Peer Evaluation (Individual)
2 3. Let Me Introduce Myself Worksheet (Individual, Due Seminar 2)
Complete this worksheet and bring a hard copy to Seminar 2, when your team will be formed.
1. Who am I and what do I do?
2. My country of origin, places I've lived, my background
3. What was going on in my life that caused me to want to be a student at Ryerson University
4. The most important aspect of my life is......
5. Some of the major influences on my life are……
6. What special skills or knowledge can I contribute to the team
7. What skills need further development
8. What I need to get out of this semester to make it worthwhile for me is….
9. Anything else you should know about me to help you work with me this semester
3 4. Reading: Team Building Tools for Students
Adapted from: “Team-Building Tools for Students”, Diana Page & Joseph G. Donelan
Journal of Education for BusinessJ,an/Feb 2003
ABSTRACT. In this article, the authors describe why university students need good teamwork
skills, how instructors can encourage students to develop those skills, and how team projects can
be designed to improve teamwork skills. An action plan and team-building tools are provided.
The class will work in teams of three, and the project will be due in 2 weeks. Good luck," said
1. Establishing the Importance of Teamwork
Theinstructor shouldbeginbyexplaining tostudentswhyteamworkskillswillbeimportant in
their professionalbusinesscareers. Manyprofessionalbusinessorganizations,includingtheAmerican
Institute ofPublicAccountantshaveidentified interpersonalskills asacorecompetency.Next,the
instructor shouldprovidespecificexamples ofjobsituations thatrequireteamwork—forexample,
financialplanningengagements,consulting projects, andnew product development programs.Inaddi-
tion, the instructorshouldprovide students withevidence that business decision-making is improved
when teamwork is used(Bamber, Watson,& Hill,1996; Hackman,1990).Ifstudents understandthe
benefits that they willderive fromcollaborative work,they will bemore willing tolearn teamwork
After establishing the importance of teamwork skills, the instructor must recognize and
reinforce those skills during team projects. In this article, we identify important group skills and
provide guidelines to help the instructor reinforce them.
4 2. DefiningtheTask
To maximize students' successes, the instructor should establish clear objectives at the outset
of the project. Setting objectives includes providing students with clear timelines and progress-
report requirements. Requiring progress reports assures students that they are on the right track and
helps them practice teamwork skills necessary for timely completion of projects. In Appendix 1,
we present the Team Project Guidelines handout, which explains how instructors can clearly
establish team objectives and team member responsibilities. The guidelines suggest that the instructor
take an active role as the team supervisor, making clear that he or she will share responsibility for
student learning and that the team members will share responsibility for keeping their instructor
informed about group progress.
3. Creating a Psychological Contract
To accelerate group productivity and open lines of communication, the instructor should
encourage student groups to develop psychological contracts. A psychological contract is a set of
expectations or rules specifying the individuals and their functions in a relationship. Because it is
dynamic, the psychological contract can and should be updated as desired. Its elements can
include how performance will be measured and general rules of conduct. For example, the contract
may describe what will happen if a team member acts in an unprofessional way, submits work late, or
does not submit work. The team project guidelines address the following important elements in
drawing up a psychological contract:
• Assigning responsibilities
• Establishing deadlines
• Achieving full participation by group members
• Documenting group norms, values, and rules
Documenting these elements of a psychological contract benefits groups, because these steps help
groups plan, save time, and resolve conflicts.
4. EstablishingTeamMember Roles During and Between Meetings
Successful teams need a balance of task and relationship roles both at meetings and outside of
them. Task roles include seeking and providing information, elaborating to help the team understand
5 issues, evaluating information, and coordinating activities. Relationship roles refer to the social
interaction of team members or to how tasks are performed. Roles can be taken for the duration of the
project or can be rotated. Roles need be identified for both team meetings and for responsibilities that
need to becarried out between meetings:
During Meetings: Examples ofuseful roles that needto betaken duringmeetings are:
Leader: Leads discussion and coordinates the processes and output
Recorder: Produces a written account of team member responsibilities and meeting decisions
Timekeeper: Records start time and reminds team of remaining time throughout the process
Gatekeeper: Keeps team members on track if they are failing to carry out assigned duties,
transgressing into others' duties, or violating team rules
Social-emotional leader: Resolves tension, mediates conflicts, encourages the quieter team
members to voice their opinion and the more vocal team members to share air time.
The group needs to identify its mission, goals and expectations, and responsibilities need
to be assigned to individuals accordingly. Examples vary depending on the nature of the
assignment and can include; project coordinator, leader, writer, researcher, proofreader, editor,
5. Recognizing and Reinforcing Teamwork Skills
For group skills to be internalized, the group members must recognize the team-building
skills and have those skills reinforced during the team project. Therefore, instructors must not only
explain team-building skills but also support the explanations with practice and reinforcement.
Instructors should encourage members to follow seven basic rules:
• Know your team members.
• Communicate accurately and unambiguously.
• Accept andsupportone another.
• Check for understanding.
• Share ideas and understanding.
• Check for agreement.
• Resolve conflicts constructively and quickly.
6 6. Managing Team Development Stages
Most groups progress through four development stages: forming, storming, norming, and
performing (Tuckman & Jensen, 1977). Early in the group's forming stage, it is useful for a team to
establish explicit team values and rules, together with a method of monitoring the team's adherence
to those rules (see guidelines in Appendix 1). Duringthe storming stage,conflicts mayemergeamong
should remind themthatsolvingthecase(orproblemorproject)isonlypartoftheassignment—
learning teamwork skills isanequally importantpart. In the norming and performing stages of group
development, members come together by adhering to the groups' standards of behavior. These
standards encourage group members to act as one. This synergistic process results in greater group
productivity. Instructors should reinforce these harmonious behaviors by praising students and ask-
ing them to explain who is responsible for which tasks.
To facilitate the group development process, instructors can use the scales provided in
Tables 1 and 2 to arrive at a group development score and a group decision-making score. At
several points in the group's development, the instructor should display the two scoring sheets and
ask the individual group members to record, anonymously, where they think their group falls on
each scale. At the next meeting, the results can be displayed and discussed. The scores obtained for
group decision making and group development often provide important insights into the group's
dynamics. Dominant group members often believe that the group is close to both consensus and
performing. However, if there are wide disparities in scores between members, the team should revisit
its values and rules to resolve the differences and make a plan for bringing the entire group to a higher
level of consensus and development.
7. Creating Positive Interdependence
Positive interdependence exists when all group members benefit from the success of other
group members. Positive interdependence can be created by taking the following steps: (a) asking the
group to create a common goal (e.g., obtaining an "A" grade on the project), (b) establishing a mutual
reward system so that the score for the team is dependent on the performance of all group members,
and (c) establishing team member roles (e.g., team leader, team reporter, team spokesperson).
7 TABLE 1. Group Development Score
10 Performing Fun and exciting; high commitment to group; feeling of
high trust and friendship; involvement with group inspires
members' best performance; creative use of existing
9 resources; highly effective orchestration of activities and
process flow within the group; pride in group accomplishments;
8 volunteering participation; commitment to decisions;
expressions of appreciation and caring.
7 Norming A sense of belonging and group cohesion; a sense of
personal accomplishment; individual roles understood;
6 unified mission; healthy balance of power; effectiveers
group processes; sincere attempt to reach consensus; little
or no violation of team rules; productive; attack problems,
5 not each other; "we" overtakes "me" mentality.
4 Storming Group attempts to organize for the task, and conflicts
for what, what evaluation and reward criteria will be;ble
8 3 power structure is not stable; some members may be silent
interest; lack of progress; violation of code of conduct and
2 team rules.
1 Forming Reliance on polite, safe, patterned behavior; members
looking to a leader for direction; desire for acceptance;
approaches to resolving conflict not developed; individual
formed; tasks not determined or delegated; methods and
procedures not determined; rules of behavior not well
developed, so members keep things simple and avoid
Note. Adapted from Tuckman, B., and Jensen, M., (1977). Stages of small group development.
Group and Organizational Studies, 2, 419-427.
8. Holding Individual Team Members Accountable
Two activities will foster individual accountability: (a) regularly recording team meeting
minutes and (b) following up on those minutes. Students balk at these activities because they view
recording meeting minutes as "busy work." But these two activities simplify the management of
team processes and can clearly differentiate performers from nonperformers. This also helps in peer
evaluation upon conclusion of the team project.
Score Type of decision Characteristics
10 Consensus Needs and interest of all parties
9 explored; all positions fairly developed;
8 Creative, unified solution emerges
6 Majority rule; some discussion; Majority and minority points of view
5 some compromise explored; majority position prevails
4 with some modification and
consideration of minority opinion.
3 Majority rule; no compromise; Decision made by powerful individual
2 no discussion or sub-group; opinions of other members are
not sought or explored.
1 No decision Avoidance by all members; no agreement;
0 no decision is made.
9 9. Conclusion
Today's business professionals must be able to function effectively in teams. In this article, we
have provided guides for developing effective teamwork projects that reinforce teamwork skills. The
processes include taskdefinition, creation ofapsychological contract, establishment ofappropriate team
membership, specification of team member roles, meeting with team members, management of team
development stages, creation of positive interdependence, and holding individual team members
American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA). (1999). Vision project. Retrieved
Bamber, E. M., Watson, R. L., & Hill, M. C. (1996), The effects of group decision support
systems technology on audit group decision making. Auditing, a Journal of Theory and
Practice, 15(1), 122-134.
Hackman, J. R. (Ed). (1990). Groups that work (and those that don't). San Francisco: Jossey
Johnson, D., & Johnson, R. (1990). Cooperative learning and achievement. In S. Sharan (Ed.),
Cooperative learning: Theory and research (pp. 23-37). New York: Praeger Press.
Tuckman, B., & Jensen, M. (1977). Stages of small group development. Group and Organi-
zational Studies, 2, 419-427.
1. What are the 7 basic rules for reinforcing teamwork skills?
2. In which stage of group development are teams most likely to experience conflict?
3. What are the differences between consensus and majority rule?
10 5. Team Assignment-Part 1 : 1 Draft of Your Team Contract
This assignment requires that you work together with the members of your team to
establish a first draft of your team contract that includes your team’s vision & goals, project plan
and charter. You will need to devote at least 2 hours outside of class, working together, to this
assignment. We have set up the schedule so that you have the option of using the cancelled
seminar time slot, (the week between seminars 4 and 5), towards this purpose. There are three
deliverables that should result from this assignment:
1. A name for your team
2. A team document outlining your team’s agreed-upon vision and a break-down of your
short-term and long-term goals that will help you to accomplish your group project
3. A team document that outlines your team’s implicit ground rules for operation – i.e., your
‘team contract’ – which should be signed by each member of your team
These documents are due at the beginning of Seminar 5.
Purpose & Group Discussion
The purpose of this exercise is for your team to first visualize an ideal scenario for what your
team will look like and how you will accomplish your project. Note that you should consider the
processes involved in this project, and not just the end-goal. Questions you should ask yourself,
and should discuss with the group include:
• What is your vision for what an ideal team and ideal project completion would look like?
• What is your ideal scenario for how you will interact together to accomplish your goals?
• How would you like to see the work structured and allocated to members?
• What types of norms would you like to see enforced in the group?
• How would you like to communicate?
• What behaviors are strongly supported? What behaviors are completely unacceptable?
Additional points of discussion may also emerge. They key is to engage in a collective
discussion that will allow you to develop a shared understand