Other course results… on a meta-level

Posted on Wednesday, 28 June, 2006 by

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It occurred to us that as a team, we in fact became an inter-org CoP, learning about CoPs by being one and by learning from each other’s experiences. Our findings may not contain any “net new” knowledge out in the universe as a whole but to us these “open doors” certainly gained a lot of look and feel and thorough understanding. Which in itself is experiencing (again) that learning is not about information transfer but about meaning making.

It took us a long time to get organized as a team, and to set up a conference call. The call immediately helped to put us “on the same page”. There is defenitely a learning value in the organization time. I learned how “being distributed” affects your team organization:

  • It´s (much) more time-consuming to lead a distributed team than a similar nondistributed team.

  • It´s very hard to schedule a synch event. Plan long before, state times clearly and abundantly everywhere.

  • Synch events (we only used conference call but synch chat might also work) are needed to get on track.

  • The “community development” (laughing together, jokes, little side-chats) during the calls helped the rest of the work.

  • Working in pairs provided welcome “time-off” of the team, while it stimulated joint learning and going “deeper”; and no-one was allowed to drop out.

  • Technology has to be dead, dead simple. E.g. not all our team members felt comfortable when we switched to the outside wiki (no log-in, very simple type wiki). At certain moment (to my regret) we even dropped the course space and fell back to “reply-to-all” emails!!

  • The “drops” in technology did not affect our team chemistry. Hence, the focus on technology is overrated: technology is not very important.

  • (for this 3wk-project) A strong, focused leadership works best. It´s difficult to strike a balance between objective orientedness and learning/exchanging. It´s very nice if others take the drivers seat at times, as they did for our team.

  • Do not hope for full presence, ever. Even calls will have people arriving late and leaving early, try to keep going despite of that.

  • Asynch work, because it needs no scheduling, is never urgent: even if acknowledged to be important does not easily gain priority.

 

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