Teamwork Roles

One of the basic concepts of group work is to subdivide the work. For the "product" this means that one usually works on specific "tasks." For the group process this means that members take on various "roles" throughout the life of the project. These roles can be rotated, but for effective group work it's almost always true that they need to be filled either by agreement or by default.



Meeting Recorder

Responsible for recording what happens in meetings

  • Record the key points in meetings especially decisions, responsibilities and due dates.
  • Issue "minutes" of the meeting to all affected - best is within 24 hours of the meeting.
  • This job should almost certainly rotate - it's boring but necessary.
  • This person can contribute to the discussion.
Meeting Vizualizer

When there's a blackboard, whiteboard or large pad it's very helpful to put important points up on that medium so the entire group can see what's happening. This very often leads to new ideas or enables effective discussion.

  • Legible handwriting helps
  • This person can contribute to the discussion too

Someone who's good at math (or equivalent skill), particularly word problems

  • Experience and skill with computer math programs such as Excel or Maple can be very helpful for engineers.
Someone who's good at writing, particularly structured (technical) documents

Someone who's good at resolving differences between individuals

  • This doesn't have to be a formal role and may be shared between multiple members. Nonetheless it's very useful to recognize that it's often vital to a team's success.

A member good at representing visually either objects or processes.

  • Experience and skill with a computer drawing program can be very helpful
In many of the best groups this role isn't formally established. In fact it passes from one member to another depending on the issue being addressed.
Task Tracker

A member who keeps track of the due dates for all elements of the project

  • It's worthwhile to distinguish between internal and external due dates
  • Nagging members for needed material is often an important responsibility
  • Document in shared form what's due when, who is responsible, and when it was actually completed
    • A useful Excel spreadsheet template for this is on the AE Resources page.

Someone should be responsible for ensuring that all the group products are organized and preserved.

  • Often a loose-leaf notebook is a very handy tool for this organization


Mistakes Teams Have Made

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Updated: 2/2/03