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Copy of Project_Report_01_TeamPaul

Page history last edited by llobatop@mail.depaul.edu 8 months ago

In our experience, the keys for a class project team to complete a collaborative project are having the flexibility to work at their own pace while effectively communicating with the team. In the context of the current project, this is especially true. Our team is composed of four part-time graduate students with different responsibilities and commitments outside of work. While everyone takes this course seriously and wants the team to succeed, we won’t always have time to discuss each step as a group and follow up on each other’s deliverables. Being able to easily track each other’s progress and establishing a reliable form of communication is key.

 

We need to clearly see who has been contributing and that the work is being distributed equally. It helps to assign clear roles to each teammate and communicate early and effectively at every step. Ideally, whenever anything related to the project changes (updates to deliverables, team member availability, responses from the professor to our questions, etc.), the team should have access to this information as soon as possible. This transparency helps a lot since, as online students, we don’t have a reliable weekly time that we’re guaranteed to meet and discuss everything as a team. 

 

For this project, we chose Google Drive as our collaboration tool. Drive is one of the most popular team project collaboration tools and has a wide set of applications that could benefit us in this project. Drive started out as a recreation of the most popular products in the Microsoft Office Suite made free to use. Over time, it became much more useful as a complete project management tool by incorporating other features such as calendars and integrations with flowchart programs. Drive is free to use with a Google account and allows multiple users to simultaneously work on the same document.

 

Drive has many advantages that make it a great option for students. It’s free to use, has plenty of storage space, a diverse set of products, reliably allows multiple users to work on a document simultaneously and save the work history of each user, has a massive user base (most people have a google account and are familiar with Drive), and has plenty of free tutorials online. Also, any attachments emailed to the team on Gmail can be sent to our shared drive with one click. Google saving user work history greatly assists in making sure the work is split evenly. Multiple users being able to work on a document at once means everyone can see changes to deliverables in real-time and we don’t have to wait for others to finish their sections to move forward. These features greatly increase transparency and decrease time lost waiting on teammates to post updates on their sections.

 

We’ve currently made a Drive folder for tracking individual aspects of our project. We have documents detailing team roles, research notes, and final deliverables. Going forward, we will rely on the calendar feature to better track team progress.

 

We also considered some of Drive’s shortcomings when choosing this product. The two key issues we noticed were:

 

  1. Individual tools on Drive aren’t always as robust as paid equivalents (Doesn’t have macros for Excel, free flowchart tools aren’t as neat as Visio or other paid alternatives, Google calendar isn’t as sophisticated a PM calendar tool like Monday.com)
  2. Multiple people editing the same document can potentially lead to data corruption due to user error. We ultimately decided that the tools in Drive would meet our requirements and we weren’t too worried about human error issues as we’re a small team and are well-coordinated.

 

We plan to collaborate for the majority of this project using Google Drive, giving us a chance to test out all of its features. Our team will benefit greatly from being able to work on our sections at our own pace and easily editing each other’s sections as necessary. We can also test creating timelines using either spreadsheets or the map tool to see how effective these options are at keeping the team on track. While we don’t plan to handle all our communication through Drive (email, call/text, Zoom meetings, in-person in class), we’re confident that we can leverage Drive for communication. It’s already proving useful as a repository for notes and a platform on which to create final deliverables.

 

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