CMPS171, Winter 2012, Section 01: Team Status Reporting

See also: template, evaluation

A major challenge in a software project class is understanding what each team member has done during the past week. With students having varying schedules, and sometimes working in the lab and sometimes at home, it can be difficult to know what someone has been doing, or whether they have been doing anything at all. As a member of a team, it can also be difficult to know if your performance is meeting the expectations of other team members, or to know if you need to improve in some way. The weekly team status reports are designed to help with these challenges.

Weekly status reports involve every team member writing a brief description of what every other team member has done over the past week. This is done via the project reporting tool, located at:

http://cmps172.soe.ucsc.edu/

Once all status information has been collected, each team member can see the status messages written by other team members. In this way, they can develop a sense of how well their performance is doing relative to other team members.

It is possible to foil this system in many ways. Providing short, or non-descriptive comments make it difficult for someone to know how they are doing. Failing to report problems means that the team member who is performing poorly thinks they are doing fine, and does not need to change their behavior. Such a person might feel blindsided when people finally do start reporting problems (Why is this a problem now? I've been doing the same thing for weeks without any trouble...) The best approach is to provide short, descriptive information of your perception of another team member's performance. If you don't know what a person has done, say so. This might indicate a problem with communication, or might mean they didn't do anything!

Remember, if you want something to happen more often, make sure you report this as something you like! People respond positively to positive encouragement. Similarly, if there is some team member's behavior that you don't like, make sure you list that as something to improve. If you don't mention it, how do you think it will ever get better? Bad things typically don't improve on their own, they just keep getting worse.