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The Product
Development Team
PURPOSE:
1. To experience a team planning process.
2. To design and implement a team project.
3. To learn to give and receive team feedback.
4. To learn factors that help and hinder team decision making.
GROUP SIZE:
A minimum of 15 people. The activity is especially useful in a team
training workshop but it can be used with an intact team.
TIME:
2 to 3 hours depending on group size and the number of teams in the
workshop.
PHYSICAL
SETTING:
Round or rectangular tables with chairs spread out around the room. It
is important that the teams be unable to hear each other during the
session. If necessary, break-out rooms can be used.
MATERIALS:
Team Reaction Form, Observer Guidelines, easel, flipchart and
markers.
PROCESS:
1. Form teams of six to seven. Ask for two volunteers from each
team to be observers. Explain the role of observers.
2. Brief the observers privately using the Observer Guidelines.
3. While you are meeting with the observers, you may ask the teams
to develop a set of norms for team effectiveness that they will use
during the exercise. See Activity 32, The Team of Your Life.
4. Ask each team to clear their table completely. Each team member
is to place one small item from a pocket or handbag on the table
(e.g., coin, pen, key).
5. Explain that the task is to develop a competitive game that can be
played by two people using only the objects on their table. They
must also plan to teach the game to two people who will actually
play the game. Give teams a time limit of 30 to 45 minutes.
6. When the time period is over, ask team members to complete the
Team Reaction Form. Observers join with team members to give
feedback and discuss the team’s process during this period.
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The Product Development Team
(continued)
7. Have observers join a table they did not observe. They are
taught the game that was created by that team. They play the
game and give the team feedback on the game.
8. The observers rejoin their original team. The teams absorb the
feedback and they use the information to revise the game. The
observers continue to record their observations. Time limit: 15
minutes.
9. Observers then go to another team they did not observe (a
different one from the team they moved to in step 7). They are
now taught this game. They play the game and give feedback on
the game to the team.
10. The observers return to their original team where they join with
team members to discuss the process and summarize learnings
on team planning, communication and decision making.
11. The facilitator asks each team for key learnings from this
experience. The learnings are posted on the flipchart. The
facilitator summarizes with a lecturette on team planning,
listening, roles, and decision making.
VARIATIONS:
1. Change step 4 to give all teams the same items (e.g., paper clip,
rubber band, watch, ring). The activity can be changed to a
competitive exercise where the object is to create the best game.
2. A companion activity is Activity 1, Tricky Tales: A Cross-Team
Building Approach.
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Team Reaction Form
1. How satisfied are you with the way your team planned the project?
1 2 3 4 5
Very Dissatisfied Very Satisfied
Comments:
2. How satisfied are you with the way the team utilized its resources (material and
human)?
1 2 3 4 5
Very Dissatisfied Very Satisfied
Comments:
3. Comment on the extent to which team members:
a) Were focused on the task and shared their expertise.
b) Saw the “big picture” and addressed strategic issues.
c) Were concerned about team dynamics and positive process.
d) Raised important questions about team goals and methods.
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4. What things helped the team?
5. What things hindered team effectiveness?
6. How can we increase team effectiveness?
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Observer Guidelines
1. Sit where you can see and hear most of the team.
2. Take notes—include quotes where possible. Note the things that help and hinder
the team and the impact of what was said or done.
3. Look for data on:
TASK-ORIENTED BEHAVIOR (keeping focused on the job to be done)
STRATEGIC BEHAVIOR (seeing the big picture)
PROCESS BEHAVIOR (how the team is working together)

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