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Team Leader

Team Leader Responsibilities

  1. Schedule or confirm team meetings. Two meetings per week are needed. One is student-only, and is generally held right after lecture on Tuesday evening. The second is the all-team meeting that includes students, faculty advisor and company rep. This meeting is scheduled at a time that everyone can attend. The location could be at the U, at the company site or alternating between the two.
  2. Prepare an agenda for each meeting, or insure that an agenda is prepared by another team member.
  3. Conduct team meetings in an orderly and efficient manner. We envision a participative team process for deciding on the scope of work, work assignments and in resolving issues facing the team. The team leader is not in charge of making decisions for the team, but should encourage the team to quickly resolve issues and make decisions.
  4. Insure that all team members are participating in team activities and encourage the team to work toward a planned schedule of activities and goals.
  5. Issue minutes of team meetings, or insure that minutes are prepared and distributed by e-mail or posted on the team web site within 12 hours of the meeting to the team e-mail list, and archive on the team web site. Setting up a rotating schedule of meeting recorders is one way to make sure everyone has a chance to take minutes.
  6. In the first few weeks, insure that the team prepares a Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) and Gantt chart or Pert chart type of schedule with project activities clearly listed along with responsibilities and start/completion dates. Key milestones for winter and spring quarters should also be listed. This schedule should be reviewed and approved by the faculty advisor and the company representative and updated regularly during the project.

The team leader does not have any more power than other members of the team and is not responsible for setting project direction or dictating work assignments. The purpose of the team leader is simply to ensure that the team is performing to its maximum potential.

Selecting a Team Leader

To get things off to a rapid start, the team should select a team leader at or near its first meeting. The team leader is responsible for project organization, but is not empowered to direct the team. Here is one way to handle the selection process:

  1. Pick someone to chair the meeting until a team leader is selected. If available, this could be the faculty coach.
  2. Each team member describes his or her background and experience in leadership roles in college or in working roles since graduation, and indicates their degree of willingness to accept the starting team leadership role if selected.
  3. The temporary chair opens the meeting for nominations for team leader. After nominations are completed, a secret ballot vote is taken by all student team members. The elected team leader will then assume responsibility for the remainder of the meeting.

A similar process can be followed at any time to decide whether the present team leader should continue or a new leader selected.

You do not have to follow this process. Whatever works for your team is fine.

Your team may decide to rotate team leaders at mid-semester or for Spring. This will give more members an opportunity to experience a leadership role.