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Working in Teams

Hi Dev's

I'm currently going through a Coding Bootcamp. So far it's been awesome. I've been knocking my project assignments out of the park. It's been going smoothly. I'm keeping up with the pace. We're currently doing Group Projects. But this is where things have started getting a bit awkward for me. The instructor and TA's gave us some guidance of course. There was a mini lecture about the Agile Methodology, Kanban, using Github Projects and all that team workflow stuff. We are in groups of three or four. I'm in a group of four.

Here's the thing, I'm pretty bad in social group situations. Particularly large groups and by large groups I mean more than me and another person. I have an introverted personality and in groups I always follow and never try to lead because that feels impolite to me. I also have a hard time being comfortable with following scattered conversations in like say group party stuff. In work environments I do a little better, but that's because we have management guiding us and I can focus on doing something.

Our group is not using Agile or Kanban at all. We're not even trying. The idea for the app we're building is good but our execution on how to build it has been half assed. One of the team members is focused on animating buttons. Another is looking for an API to use. I haven't really done anything other than starting a repo, inviting collaborators, and adding rules to review branches before merging. It's been 3 days of just me sitting down in front my laptop fiddling around with nothing in particular, listening to these kids talk about gaming. Nothing against gaming. I just wanna get stuff done.

Anywho, just wanted to get this out there and see if you guys can give me some feedback, advice, point me to some articles, resources, blog posts, etc. Anything about working in teams.

How has your experience working with teams been? How is out there in the real world? What should I expect? Will I look back at this part of the Bootcamp experience and smile?

Top comments (1)

avalander profile image

I don't think I have any good advice, but I do have some random thoughts. Read at your own risk.

I don't have experience with bootcamps, but the group dynamics that you describe sound quite similar to the group dynamics I experienced at university. So I'm going to try to draw some parallels from there.

First thing, you say that you don't like working in groups larger than two, that you don't do good without some direction, and that you don't feel comfortable taking the lead. Since you refer to your group as kids, I assume nobody else has work experience, so chances are that the others feel a lot like you do. When people lack direction, it's quite common that they will focus on whatever irrelevant task they can find to feel useful, like spending two weeks working on a single button, or start zoning out (as in talking about other stuff, browsing reddit or whatnot).

From this perspective, chances are your group would actually be thankful if you would take the lead and try to get something done.

Then maybe you can try to get them on board with Kanban. I'd approach it as yo team, so we've just learned about this Kanban thing, why don't we try it? Like, the worst that could happen is that you practice something that you've been taught about and that's widely used in the industry and find out that you don't like it, still you'll have the experience.

Next step would be to sit together and write down everything you need to complete the project. Well, it doesn't have to be everything just enough to get you started. A good way to start is asking yourselves what is the bare minimum we need to do to have a project that we could deliver the project and pass the assignment? and then add more stuff if you have time. Bonus points if you also discuss priorities and dependencies between tasks.

Anyhow, once you have a list of things to do, you can just set up a Kanban board with GitHub projects or whatever you use and start working on it. Chances are that the group will get some motivation to start getting things done. In the worst case, at least you'll have a list of tasks to start working on even if the rest keep slacking off (although in that case maybe a conversation with the instructor is due).