Build a Team

Choosing Teammates

If you already have a team, you can go to the next paragraph.  Okay, you don't have a team.  If your teacher is going to let you select your teammates or you are forming a team on your own, here are a couple pointers. 

  • First, choose wisely.  Choose teammates that you think will be easy to work with and have different skills from you. 
  • Second, make sure that you choose teammates with whom you can meet frequently.  For instance, you might want to choose a teammate who rides your bus or shares other classes with you. 
  • Last, choose teammates who share the same level of commitment to the project that you do.

Team Constitution 

Okay, you're a team.  Right?  Whether you chose your teammates or they were assigned to you by your teacher you are now a team.  Okay, what do we do next?  A good thing to do is write a team "Constitution". 
 
Your Constitution is just a list of working rules that you will use to run your team.  Your list should have no more than 10 items (the Bill of Rights only has 10) and should be no more than one sentence per item.  Some items that you might include are "I will treat my teammates with respect", "I will honor my commitments to the team", "I will offer an alternative solution when I disagree with the proposed solution”, etc..  It's your Constitution so make it fit your situation. 
 
After you finish it, everyone on the team should sign it.  Now everyone on your team knows how it's going to work.  Put the Constitution in the Administrative folder in your archive.  (See Archive below).

Jobs  

While everyone on the team is responsible for the competition deliverables, you can divide the responsibilities on how you get there.  These jobs exist throughout the project.

Hint: when you decide who is going to do what job, remember to also assigned backups.

There are three basic jobs in your project. 

  • The first job is chief facilitator.  This person makes certain that everyone on the team knows what's going on.  He or she prepares agendas, calls and chairs team meetings, prepares the team meeting minutes, prepares status reports, and makes certain that everyone has what they need to get the job done.
  • The second job is chief archivist.  This person is responsible for collecting and storing all of the team information such as research, receipts, document drafts, etc. (see Project Archive below).
  • The last job is chief project planning and budget controller.  This person is responsible for creating and maintaining the project plan as well as the team budget (see "What Do We Need?"). 

Each team member should have one of these jobs as his or her primary responsibility and another one where he or she is the backup.

Project Archive  

It is a good idea to build a project archive.  A project archive is an electronic folder if you are using a PC or laptop or a notebook or expandable folder if you are using paper.  This folder contains file folders that hold information produced and collected throughout your project.  It is the place to go if anyone needs to know about your project.  It will also help your teacher-sponsor review your progress.

When we discuss the electronic archive we will use terms for Microsoft Windows.  Apple and Linux systems have similar facilities.  The highest level archive folder should have a meaningful name.  We suggest "FCCAZ-archive-your city's name".  We also recommend that if your school has more than one team that they all name the folder the same way.  This will help your school's computer specialists find the folders if you should have a problem.  You will add other folders within this archive folder.  Even if you are using electronic folders, you will still need some paper folders for things like receipts and paper research.

Hint: always copy (backup) your archive folder to a thumb drive (also called flash drive or jump drive) every time that you add or change items in the archive.
 
A good place to build a paper archive is either a notebook (make sure that it is large enough for all your material) or expandable folder (you can get these at Staples, OfficeMax, WalMart, etc.).  If you're using a notebook you will also need dividers.  If you're using an expandable folder, you will need regular file folders.
 
There are certain basic folders that every archive should contain.  You can add others, if you wish.  We recommend that you use these names for the basic folders:

  • Administration
  • Worksheets
  • Project Plan
  • Budget/Receipts
  • Research
  • Virtual City
  • Essay
  • City Narrative
  • Scale Model
  • Team Presentation

Hint: if you plan to use a notebook for your archive, glue or tape an envelope to the inside of the back cover to hold project receipts, if the notebook doesn't have pockets.

Agendas

You are going to meet a lot whether it's in person or on the telephone.  So how do we make sure these meetings are useful?  One way is to prepare an agenda in advance.  An agenda is just a list and a plan of what you're going to talk about (you will find that we use a lot of lists).  You may want to include how much time each item should take.  For instance, if you’re meeting during a class period, you know how much time that you have for the meeting.  Divide the time among the things on your agenda.  Hint, put the most important things first.  Notice that I didn't say the most urgent things.  Make sure that everyone gets a copy of the agenda at least one day prior to the meeting so that they have time to prepare. 

Hint: Microsoft Word has downloadable agenda templates. See Resources page.

Next Steps  

Pick a city name.

Now that you are organized, it's time to find out about the team's skills.