June 12, 2005
June 12, 2005
June 15, 2005
10.281.1 - 10.281.8
BUILDING AN ENGINEERING TEAM: PEER ASSESSMENT PROVES A USEFUL INSTRUMENT TO GAUGE PROGRESS
Robert Knecht & Jennifer Gale
Colorado School of Mines
Abstract – Successful team operations rely on several functions that team members assume throughout the life of a project. The National Training Laboratory in Group Development developed a method describing team success based on task and team functions. At the 2004 ASEE Conference, we presented findings indicating that undergraduate teams spent the entire semester developing both a quality product and a satisfied team. We have prepared statistics based on historic information as the foundation for comparing observations during each phase of the project, as described by Tuckman. The statistics demonstrate that team dynamics changed significantly throughout the phases, achieving a balance as the team approached the end of the project.
In an ever increasing technological industry, the emphasis on team relations continues to grow. More and more industries are using teams to solve problems and to generate solutions. In addition to this, as many industries become more global, the make-up of the team is changing to include various disciplines. For example, it is not unusual for a team to be composed of engineers, business majors, and scientists, as well as other varying experts. In short, it is imperative, with the increase of team based productivity and mixed discipline teams in an ever increasing global market, to find out what strategies successful teams utilize to solve problems and make decisions.
Educators have long been aware that industry needs people who can work well together, primarily because the knowledge base for decision-making is frequently broader and deeper than one person can provide. Although scholars differ in their views about phases that teams go through during decision-making processes, they agree that task and team functions are critical for success in the team decision-making process (Jones and Bearley1; Bales2; Bales & Strodtbeck3; Bennis & Shepard4; Tuckman5; and Fisher6).
The Design EPICS (Engineering Practices Introductory Course Sequence) Program at the Colorado School of Mines (CSM) guides teams of first and second-year engineering students through an authentic design experience that calls on decision-making to address technical, open- ended, client-based projects. Mentors guide students through these creative, interactive, and complex processes. Teams practice these processes as they synthesize information, their skills, and client values. Project solutions are showcased in written reports, oral presentations and graphics demonstrations. Past projects include designing interactive playground equipment for
“Proceedings of the 2005 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright 2005, American Society for Engineering Education”
Knecht, R., & Gale, J. (2005, June), Building An Engineering Team Paper presented at 2005 Annual Conference, Portland, Oregon. https://peer.asee.org/14545
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