Teamwork: the ancient test of patience

For one of my classes, Molecular Genetics 4606, we had to design a poster describing the research we did on one of the genes that is correlated to cancer cells. The team was supposed to accomplish creating and presenting our findings to the scientific community.

My role in the group was researching and reading journals and other publications on the topic. We first listed the steps we needed to take to finish the project, and then divided the steps up into roles that people could take. That way, everyone was accountable for everyone, since we all needed each other’s work to finish the next “step”. This also put pressure on us to not procrastinate and work in advance. By breaking the project up into parts and steps, we were able to organize which steps were long term and which steps were intermediate. Short term goals included finding a poster publisher. Intermediate goals included finding research articles or journals on the topic. Long term goals involved setting up interviews with professors around campus or to publish the poster and its contents. By writing the steps out and then giving copies of the steps and the group members responsible for it, we were easily able to adhere to deadlines as we knew exactly what we had to do in order to do the next step.

Prior to designing an agenda with a schedule and people’s roles on it, we had no idea what circumstances or situations could occur that would result in us not being able to complete the project on time. Therefore, we set up the dates so we could finish the project 2 weeks in advance. Two 2 weeks to finish up holes and little details seemed like enough time to take care of any risks.

Teamwork problems or conflicts I observed were people completing the steps half heartedly. Because the next person has to use the information from the previous person, inadequate research could result in a snowball effect, causing the whole system to collapse. Techniques we used to fix the problem were constant reminders, breaks to relieve tension, and pizza parties on the all nighters. I found out that a healthy positive vibe resulted in more efficient work among the group. I felt like the whole team accomplished the goal very well. We received a 98/100 on the poster, and I knew a lot of it had to do with our step process. We designed a great poster, and I look forward to using the strategy again when there is another project in the future.