Reflective writing is the analytical process in which ideas or events are written and reflected upon to look back at how the process went and what it meant to the writer and other people around them. The reflective process is vital in examining the extent to which the process succeeded and what could have been done differently, which can be beneficial for any future ventures. The reflective model that will be used is Gibbs’ reflective cycle, in which the experience is explored by being described, feelings identified, evaluated, analysed, concluded, and an action plan presented (Wilding 2008). Gibbs’ reflective cycle is beneficial because it makes it possible for a person to think about their learning experience clearly and systematically. The reflection will be for a team-building conference in which the goal was to enable employees to improve their interpersonal skills over a weekend of interacting with each other in a venue.
The project plan was implemented by first setting SMART goals and objectives in which the focus was ensuring that all that was planned to be done was specific enough that it could have been evaluated. With these goals and objectives, the team was able to ensure that it was realistic enough that the plans would be achievable, and since there was a time limit, the project would be completed on time. In the project process, the first thing before the planning could start was setting limits in terms of funds, time, and labour, among other resources to maximise the benefits to be had from the project (Caporusso 2020). This aspect of the project also involved the delegation of various aspects of the project to a team member to give each of them a role to perform within the predefined parameters.
All projects have their risks, and this project was no exception, and team members had to come up with a means of identifying all the possible risks of the project and proposing possible solutions. One of the risks involved the communication risk, is whereby a failure in communication would result in the project being incomplete or inaccurate to the extent of being unfeasible. Another risk was issues like cost, skills resources, and performance risks related to resource allocation to ensure effective and efficient completion of the project (Kozien 2018). The risks were addressed by setting up communications channels in advance and planning for all the resources the team possessed in advance so that they could be allocated to specific elements of the completion of the project.
While SWOT analysis is a relatively straightforward tool, it is indispensable in project planning, as it can be optimised to address all the internal and external elements of the project for the best outcomes. Before the group could start working on the project, it needed to determine its strengths, weaknesses, threats, and opportunities so that the project planning process could be adjusted accordingly. The strengths included skilled and experienced members; weaknesses included limited funds and time; opportunities included the chance to try new planning approaches, and threats entailed unexpected changes in project parameters (Galabova 2018). Nevertheless, with the advanced analysis of the project and its parameters, it was possible to develop a strategy for working on the project that took advantage of strengths and opportunities and either avoided or addressed weaknesses and threats. With SWOT analysis in place, the group members worked together seamlessly after understanding their own capabilities and limits, which made them able to work together even better.
For the project to be considered feasible, it had to be assumed to be functional based on established parameters so that resources would not be wasted in an event that would not work. From an economic, technical, legal, scheduling, and operational perspective, it was important to explore the feasibility of the project and its planning to determine if it was worth the effort (Keller et al., 2019). The feasibility screening process included identifying the project requirements and matching them with available resources like time, funds, skills, labour, and others to determine if it would be successful. While there would be challenges in managing resources, the project was confirmed to be feasible as long as it could be implemented based on the predetermined parameters of the project itself.
Even with all the parameters of the project in place, it would be impossible to know how the project would work without actually dividing the project into smaller pieces and tasks that can then be handled separately. These components of the projects contributed to the whole, but they made it possible for the team members to have a sense of achievement at each stage because working on the whole project would be a daunting and nearly insurmountable undertaking. With a work breakdown structure in place, it was possible to come up with a way of allocating resources like time, funds, and labour in a process that made it possible to plan the whole project accordingly (Elsye, Latief, and Sagita 2018). The work breakdown structure was the tool that gave a structure to what the team was doing, including identifying key performance indicators so that they could keep track of the progress of the project.
The roles of each of the group members were based on their respective personality characteristics, with each member of the team being suited to a different role within the framework of the team. As such, based on the Myer Briggs personality model, each person was assigned to a role that complemented their specific characteristics while at the same time supporting the overall objectives of the team (Ling, Zhang, and Wong 2020). I was happy to contribute to the team’s problem-solving process due to my excellent decision-making and troubleshooting capabilities in which I could use available information to draw conclusions and make decisions. These skills also made me excellent in risk analysis, as I can look at situations and identify what could go wrong with them in a process that enables me to come up with a suitable approach to address the risks. My excellent attention to detail also made me indispensable regarding time management, especially considering that our project was time-limited, and we needed to be able to complete the project before our time ran out. The overall experience was positive for me because I felt valued by the group, as I could apply both my skills and knowledge to benefit the team and others.
Based on the analytical and extroversion elements of my personality and the need of the group to be able to manage its stakeholders more effectively, I was also in charge of group leadership and team motivation. Through group leadership, it was possible for me to enable the team to cater to the needs of the project’s other stakeholders, including the workers who were supposed to attend the workshop. The group’s leadership is supposed to keep the team focused enough to meet the needs and expectations of other stakeholders like suppliers and the sponsoring organisation. Team motivation focused on the team members of the planning committee, whereby they needed to be engaged and motivated enough to be able to see through the planning process (de Oliveira and Rabechini 2019). While these roles were challenging, I was happy to perform them because they served as a learning experience and were more engaging than if I had been a passive member of the group. There were some challenges dealing with time management and getting team members to communicate seamlessly, but these were addressed relatively easily by setting communication and timekeeping rules well in advance.
The team was able to complete the project within the set deadline and did not exceed its budget, which was possible due to advance planning and the idea that every team member was allocated a role for which they were best suited. For instance, team members who were creative were given roles that involved thinking out of the box and coming up with solutions through brainstorming and other problem-solving approaches. In their analysis, they were able to explore the issues from multiple perspectives such that they were able to creatively address most of the possible risks and challenges the team was supposed to face (Eldridge 2019). When working together, the team members were also able to think about the impact the event would have on others and made accommodations based on the needs of others. For instance, the planned activities also included freeform sessions in which attendees of the event were allowed to explore issues without limitations. By so doing, the team was able to organise an event that was structured and allowed for better expression among attendees of the weekend-long team-building conference.
As indicated earlier, while the project was completed in time, there were some time management issues, whereby some of the planned activities of the team took longer than was planned and forced the team to rethink its approach. Although team members believed in the success of the project, it was difficult to balance their personal commitments and the team’s needs. As such, some group members were unable to handle some of the tasks they were awarded, and as the group leader, I ended up either working on them myself or assigning them to other group members. In addition to the challenge in time management, something else that was challenging in group work was communication among team members, especially in the early days of working together (Sarhadi, Yousefi, and Zamani 2018). It was impossible to keep track of the progress group members were making during this time because they had not yet understood the importance of sending in reports and communicating any challenges they may be facing. The group had to hold a meeting explaining the importance of communication, as most of the tasks the group members were assigned were vital to the completion of the whole project.
The experience started with the group members holding the early meetings of the project organising what needed to be done with the whole group in place, including planning a schedule, allocating roles, and deciding how resources would be used. After that, each group member was assigned to a specific role, like liaising with the restaurant that owns the venue and negotiating a suitable fee for the 2 days the workshop would be held. The group members were expected to send reports to the group leader daily or when there was something relevant that needed to be reported to the rest of the group. Working together this way improved the team’s output because multiple tasks could be worked on concurrently by different group members to optimise their efforts (de Oliveira and Rabechini 2019). The experience ended with the group members holding a few final meetings in which the group leader compiled all they had done after each group member presented a short report to the group.
The reports presented by the group members to the whole team showed the extent to which they were successful in completing the activities they were assigned by the group leader based on their capabilities. Based on the effectiveness of task allocation, every group member had managed to complete their role successfully, and there was little more the team could do to enhance their performance. Another reason the project was considered completed after the last meetings were that as the team members worked on their allocated tasks, they sent regular reports to the team leader, who then transmitted the message to other team members (Willumsen et al., 2019). The communication was so seamless that, by the time of the last meeting, everybody was already aware of the progress that had been made, and the meeting was a formality to confirm everything in the plans had been done. The success of the group emphasised the importance of excellent planning in ensuring the success of project management or project planning venture in which there are multiple members and multiple tasks to perform.
The application of the teamwork theories of Myer Briggs and stakeholder management was an excellent decision by the team members, as it made it possible for each person to contribute to the team while considering their impact on others. The Myer Briggs personality traits made it possible for team members with different personality types to work seamlessly with each other. Identifying personality conflicts in advance improved the ability of the group to deal with conflicts, as conflicts tend to be unavoidable whenever people are expected to work together in a team. Through the application of this theory, it was possible to assign each group member a role for which they are most suited so that each team member can feel valued without feeling pressured to do something they would not want to do. In addition, the theory made it possible to identify the causes of possible conflicts, especially if team members had different ways of looking at a presenting issue. An example of the model in play is how I was assigned the role of the group leader not only because I had prior experience working in groups but also because of my attention to detail and ability to unite others.
The stakeholder management theory was also instrumental in improving the outcomes of the team working activities, whereby all the activities of the team were geared towards enabling the team to meet the needs and expectations of a specific stakeholder group. For instance, when selecting the venue, it was important to consider its convenience to the attendees and how much it would cost the organisation. In stakeholder management, it was also possible to consider that the team members needed to remain motivated and given a chance to express themselves despite the challenges they faced. Through stakeholder management, each team member was allocated a task to which they were most suited, and given all the resources they needed to be successful in their respective tasks. With the excellent level of engagement, all team members exceeded all expectations in their tasks in terms of timeliness and the quality of work they did. Through these theories, the group met all its objectives and dealt with any challenges presented in the initial stages of working on the project.
One of the objectives of the project was to complete the planning in time, as the firm allocated limited time before the workshop could be held that would enable its employees to work better with each other. Another objective was that it was important to determine the resources needed to complete the project as a whole and each component of the project. The third main objective was to complete the planning process and ensure that it did not go beyond the budget that was allocated to the team by the sponsoring organisation. Due to excellent planning and cooperation among team members, these objectives were all met, even though some challenges had to be handled when the team members were working on the project. Part of the reason for the success was excellent communication among team members, whereby they were able to identify the issues they would face well in advance and work together towards coming up with appropriate solutions.
When working on a project, challenges are to be expected, whereby it is impossible to work on a project without taking some measures to identify the possible challenges and deal with them accordingly. An important challenge that the group had to deal with early in the process was setting clear goals and objectives so that the team members would not be derailed to fail to complete the project. In order to address this meeting, the team applied the smart framework and set specific goals that had to be met under all circumstances, including breaking down the goals into smaller tasks. Another challenge was budget restrictions and the challenges that arose when the group needed to adjust something like the price of an important service they needed for the event. The budgetary challenges were addressed by refining the scope of the project and holding regular meetings to brainstorm on how best to cut costs without compromising the success of the project.
Based on the success of the group project, there is little I would want to change in the future, as the team seemed to have been perfectly tailored to meet the goals of the project with only a few challenges that were addressed. However, I could have made leadership a rotating concept because, at times, it was overwhelming to handle multiple tasks at the same time while keeping up with the needs of the team members. I did not delegate more because of my position as the leader, whereby I was afraid that the team failing would be blamed on me due to my responsibilities. However, I have learned that delegating is not a sign of weakness; it shows other team members that they are capable and that the group leader has faith in their abilities. While I confirmed that I am as hard-working and creative as ever, a weakness I identified is the fact that I have a hard time trusting others to do something, which cannot bode well for someone who has to cooperate with others. The team experience was excellent in improving my knowledge and skill level, but, like other members of the group, I learned that communication can be an excellent tool in achieving team success. All my learning goals and required competencies were met, but I realised that, through team working, it is possible to achieve much more if a person is open to new experiences.
I need to improve my communication skills overall; whereby although we were able to complete the project successfully, I do not think my listening skills were at par with an excellent leader’s expectations. I will need to attend a conference or at least practice my listening skills so that I can gain insights from others and benefit from their knowledge instead of merely focusing on my own knowledge and capabilities. In order to do this, I will need to take fewer dominant roles in groups so that I can be an active observer, which should teach me that other people usually have something to say in a group setting. The learning experience, in this case, would also enable me to learn more about delegation, as people are typically capable of more than what they would appear initially. Overall, the experience was positive, but if I can improve my listening and delegation skills in the future, projects will be more successful and less stressful. Other changes I need to make in regard to my team working skills is to engage in more reflection on my projects, as is the case with this one where I am writing a whole report to reflect on what happened. With increased reflection, then all the lessons I learned from previous team projects would be applicable and beneficial in the future, as all the lessons tend to be more apparent whenever they are looked at retrospectively.
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