Just completed my personal reflective report on the NfP (Not for Profit) Project. Here are the points.
Our team consisted of 6 MBAs from different countries and different background. With a team of such a diversity, one may expect that the team work will be interesting and productive as the team has access to a range of perspective and skill.
In fact, diversity can actually hinder integration and may increase the occurrence of conflict within the team. This was exactly what happened in the meetings. Everyone had their own interpretation of the project needs and own ideas to implement the project. But hard to achieve an agreement as everyone had different point of view. As a result, the team spent long hour in meetings yet no concrete conclusion. Sometimes, the conclusions were made recklessly due to tiredness and frustration of further discussion. Obviously, the outcome due to these conclusion was undoubtedly poor in quality.
The team was aware of the severity of the problem only after half way of the project We received our first score in their MBA program, the score of the project interim presentation. The score was below passing mark and everyone was shocked. Our ego as an MBA student was badly hurt and after a reflective meeting, we committed to put more time and more effort into the project.
Later, I learned about the Belbin Team Role in the Skills for Successful Manager class. Interestingly, our team members are obviously in different team roles. Since the result of the SHL psychometric test was confidential, I could only guess my team members' team roles based on my observation. I guessed there were a "Shaper," two "Plant", a "Finisher-Completer", an "Implementer" and a "Monitor-Evaluator". What lacked in our team were a "Co-ordinator", a "Resource Investigator", and a "Team Worker". No wonder our team has a lot of ideas, but no one try to coordinate between us, no one try to explore resource outside the team and no one being diplomatic to support the team.
With the commitment and better understanding of each other, we started to split the work according to the strength of each members. We set a limit for the meeting time and tried to carry out the meeting efficiently with better preparation before the meeting, threw ideas and discussed but let the person-in-charge of the work decide the final decision, and ensure all action items decided in the meeting were carried out in action.
As a results, our work was gaining momentum and we managed to work efficiently and harmoniously compare with before. We managed to finalized our study results and gave a presentation to our client confidently.
1) Recognise strength and skill of each members is important at the first stage of any project.
2) Understand interpersonal style (for example the Belbin Team Roles) of the team members can help to achieve better efficiency in team.
3) A team work efficiently when the team has a balance of all team roles.
4) Diversity can help as well as hinder the efficiency of team work.
5) A meeting without clear objective, time limit and a decision maker is doomed to be fail.
Another problem in implementation was non of us had consulting experience before. We were unclear about what need to be do, and how could we do in a consulting project. Therefore, due to lack of experience as well as delay from client side, we could finalize the project scope only almost one month after the project launching.
After finalized the scope, we had long discussion about what data is required and how we could gather the data. We thought of carry out survey but later found out that within limited time and resources, the limited numbers of questionnaire that we could gather would be statistically insignificant. We carried out several interviews but the responses were not encouraging.
Nevertheless, we gradually understood what need to be done, and how to carry out our study. We prepared a project structure breakdown to visualize the whole process. As taught in the Consulting Skills class, "Begin with the end in mind" by visualize the end, the deliverable to client in mind, we could actually think backward of what need to be done in order to achieve that. Based on the project structure breakdown, we divided the tasks and work independently but supportively.
I found that newly learned knowledge from Financial Accounting and Corporate Finance class was quite useful in the analysis of the project.
1) Identify the business need and finalized scope with client as soon as possible.
2) Work up a clear and realistic work plan.
3) Begin with the end in mind.
4) Quick understanding of client's issue and add value with the implementable recommendations.
5) Financial/Management Accounting, Corporate Finance, Marketing and other MBA subjects are the fundamental knowledge to support any consulting work.
The comments on our interim presentation were no clear structure, lack of logic in content development for the presentation content and not appear confidence, no eye contact, reading slides for the presentation delivery. No doubt our score was below the passing mark.
To improve our presentation, we got the feed back from our supervisor, and carried out peer assessment on our presentation style. While complementing what done well, we also pointing out what need to be improved in each other presentation. We scrutinised the logic in content, we checked the necessity of each and every slides, we made sure all slides carry clear messages to the audience.
Our final presentation was quite successful, at least to our own perception. We appeared confident in the presentation and managed to articulate our ideas and recommendations clearly to the client.
1) Use eye contact, appear confident, speak with passion in presentation.
2) Make a logic, a story line to link up the whole presentation.
3) Bring the finding forward to the beginning of the presentation will give audience the whole idea of the presentation.
4) Ask why you need the slide - eliminate any unnecessary slide.