Birmingham City Council has instructed all IPP students to deliver a student accommodation and graduate retention report along with proposals for alternatives uses to student accommodation. Following strictly the client brief the group had to present its findings on A1 boards on the date of delivery.
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In order to produce such important piece of work, team A shared the same visions and objectives, which were clearly set at the start of the project by the group leader and that was believed to be the key to success. (Kets de Vriets 1999).
Individual tasks and performance
Group A elected the team leader on the date of the client brief launch. After brief discussion with the members of the team, the leader himself sent tasks allocation list to all participants. The tasks were allocated depending on each person experience and background which clearly was the start of good team work (Belbin 2004).
I was personally involved in the student numbers, student accommodation and graduate retention research as well as marketing and valuation of the proposed alternatives to student housing. I was happy with my responsibilities and felt positive about the project in general. The research was desk based and conducted through secondary resources. The outcome of the research was send to the rest of the group quite promptly. Although we have used facebook and dropbox to upload the files timing has not been done according to plan and made me believe the group did not communicate effectively or did not understand the brief itself. The very interaction with other people which are not from the same working background and even not the same university course brought mixed emotions. As students we concentrate our time on individual work due to the nature of the assessments and examinations and we all learn and develop in a different way (Kolb 1975). Therefore any sort of external invasion combined with tight deadline for delivery, changes student behaviour and puts to a test the ability to communicate effectively.
The first group meeting after the client’s brief did not meet my expectations in terms of the work that had to be done or how was it done. I have clearly expressed my opinion which I believe what any member of a team should do (Critchley & Casey 1986) and demanded more on the quality of information produced by the team members. I have missed one of the group meetings when decisions on alternative proposals have been made. These proposals were hardly shared with me. I was depending on information from the architect in the group and the quantity surveyors to finish my job. On several occasions when I received the work required from the quantity surveyors for example, I have questioned the numbers for the different options and the quality of their research. This is considered as a weakness as I somehow believed that the effort members put in the process should be equal. I have also realised I needed to work on my ability to listen to other people’s ideas and to accept the fact that there always going to be competition.
Ability to listen
Afraid from competition
Fear of rejection
SWOT Analysis personal reflection
Quality of work produced
Attention to detail
After couple of group meetings I have realised I am focusing more on the idea behind that project and not on the particular tasks. As individual l tend to see the bigger picture instead of the different parts that makes it. Clearly that has changed when within the progress of the project when we all started to express ourselves more freely and share ideas.
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As soon as we have gathered the whole work together and turned it into well presented report it all made sense and I personally felt rewarded for the hard work. Overall it was challenging to work with other people, but the project went beyond my expectations.
I have approached the project in general with my previous knowledge on team work and leadership from Professionals Skills 2 module last year and more research on the subject. The aim was to understand my role as a member of a group and develop extra skills. I was familiar with the research area which makes me confident in a way. The method was desk based from secondary resources. (Denscombe, 1998).
Primary research in a form of questionnaires has been also prepared in order to analyse student opinion on graduate retention. Although it was more time consuming, it gave us a clear picture of the student needs and ambitions (Gratton & Jones, 2010).
Inter-professional group process
As students and individuals our goal is to achieve extraordinary results although we are ordinary people (Scarnati 2001). This is a long interactive process where we were dependent on each other and communicate effectively. This process is described by Bruce Tuckman in his Forming Storming Norming Performing model of team development (Tuckman 1965).
The initial stage Forming is the time to introduce each other a group member. Although a list has been published clearly setting out the team members in each group I would have find it difficult to find the rest of the people if I was not already familiar with at least their names. However the first meeting of team A went well and we have even come up to our first agreement as a group by electing a team leader. http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-_R38KnX8PMw/USZBg_qHBeI/AAAAAAAAAEM/tvpUGftDykg/s1600/Tuckman%E2%80%99s-Teams-Model.jpg
(source: Tuckman & Jensen Model 1977)
As soon as the brief was launched we have started sharing opinions and different ideas on the project in general. No all of the member were engaged in those conversations. That is how we have approached the second stage Storming. At that point we had our tasks allocated. I would not say that we had that vision for success (Belbin 2004) as the group members including myself were still not sure what we wanted to achieve. Although we had a plan and agenda to follow set by our team leader right from the beginning, we have missed to identify our goal (Kets de Vries 1999), which led us to constant modification of that plan.
In the creative stage the whole team completely changed and all members. We started interacting and helping each other (Smith 1996). For example I needed to understand how quantity surveyors perform costing for the alternative proposals. I was relying on their capability as members of other profession (Francis and Young 1979), and they have devoted their time which I really appreciated. Although, the stage of Norming has been achieved quite late in our time schedule, the group has finally managed to start expressing our ideas with no fear of rejection (Critchley & Casey 1986), which was also personal achievement for all of us.
Tuckman identifies the final stage of performing as a mixture of motivation, decision making, collaboration and independence (Tuckman 1965). In the decision making process we all made different proposals which were quite well responded to apart from some members who remain silent at this important stage. I believe this is linked to the personality of the people and how they react in different situations. For example, one of the group members felt not enough integrated in the group work and complaint on the issue to the module tutor. As soon as the group discovered the situation the team leader allocated more tasks so the person to feel more involved and creative.
Bernard Tuckman added a fifth stage to the team development process in 1970 called Adjouring. This is the post completion stage where all members of the group look back and evaluate the process. As our presentation went well all group members were happy and gathered to discuss our achievement. We felt rewarded for the excellent feedback from the client and finally accomplished our tasks.
Chester Barnard identifies leadership as “the ability of a superior to influence the behaviour of subordinates and persuade them to follow a particular course of action” (Bernard 1938). Somehow our team leader managed not only to persuade us but also allow for all team members at certain points of the project to lead the project in their own specific area of knowledge which had a positive impact on the result.
The concept of Multi-Professional working and its implication to the IPP project
The concept of multi-disciplinary working dates back many years from now and as simple as it sounds it is described as people from different professions working together (Jones, 1986). Carrier & Kendall (1995) describe inter-disciplinary work as “implying a willingness to share and indeed give up exclusive claims to specialist knowledge and authority, if the needs of clients can be met more effectively by other professional groups”. It is quite clear the working with members of different professional groups will bring the knowledge required to satisfy the needs of a client. However, it has been argued on the number of different professions involved in a project and the meaning of “Multi” and “inter” (Rendell 2004). The IPP project itself is not only placing different professions is one place to achieve result but is also putting different minds and backgrounds and different personalities out of their comfort zone of individual learning and working into unknown venture.
Inter professional working in the Built Environment was the main aim of Latham (1994) and Egan ( 1998) in their urgent call to educational institutions to focus on inter-professional working. Inevitably as young professionals we will be required to work in groups to deliver results. Moreover, as we are in the same area of professionalism related to the built environment we are dependent on the quality of information, ideas and feedback from the other members of the group.
The Inter Professional Project experience has brought many questions at the start of it on which I was confident I know the answers. After all I have realised that the product of a group is not dependent entirely on the leader but the equal contribution from all members. I can see the theory of team working, leadership and learning styles all come together and work in practice. Moreover, the action plan I have created in Professional Skills 2 has been accomplished. The overall experience challenged my personality and changed in a certain sense the way I approach other people’s work, the fear of rejection, the ability to accept different opinions and taught me a lesson for a lifetime.
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