Collaborating: notes and reflections

Forming, Storming, Norming and Performing – these are very familiar words to a project manager but are a good reminder of the dynamics of group work. Jean Tabaka (2006) provides a useful analysis of these roles in the development of a group and how they can lead to the building of a high performing group.

At this stage, two weeks into the project, we have just got through the forming stage. We have a group of five and we have identified the roles within the group.

  • Meg Mappin – Director/Editor/Creative lead
  • Angela Lowe and Florence Lai – Creative Producers
  • Yo Yo Guo – Media input and story
  • An Tran – social media consultant

So we are now at the Storming stage. A really useful reminder from Tabaka is that at this point the group is likely to be in divergent mode. This is a positive and creative place to be as it is all about free-for-all discussion, generating alternatives, gathering diverse points of view and unpicking a problem or problems (Tabaka, 2006).

As the main driver of this project I am still very much at the stage of defining exactly what the project is. The starting point for the project was to explore the obstacles that still exist for women in surfing. The idea is to develop a multimedia project that seeks to explore what obstacles continue to exist for women engaging in sport, in particular, surfing. The project will utilise social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram to create a dialogue and place to share stories for women surfing against the odds.

I have done a lot of research and have found a range of websites that in touch on my concept.

And this has made me question the purpose of the project. I don’t want to replicate what is already happening. Usually I would try and work this out myself but I have a group and the purpose of the group is to collaborate, so I have called a meeting outside class for Weds 25 March to get input from the group and firm up the concept so I can put together a one page synopisis.

Reading Tabaka has been a really useful reminder of group dynamics. In particualar his note that while divergency is a really creative place to be, you can get stuck in it. To move on you have to move into ‘the solution or convergent mode’ (Tabaka, 2006). To do this it’s important to:

  • Generate then evaluate alternatives
  • Have a free-for-all-discussion then summarise the key points
  • Gather divergent views and sort into categories
  • Unpack the logic of a problem and arrive at a conclusion

Easy, right?

I am interested in how this model sits with Mark Elliot’s model of collaboration:

Epic Colloboration (Creative Commons BY-SA license)

This model moves from coordination, independent elements being drawn together to cooperation where individual contributions become more meaningful and valuable when combined, to collaboration where ‘people create through adding, editing and deleting a shared pool of content’ (Hailey Cooperrider

See also

Collaborative Consonance framework, Epic Collaborations, Creative Commons BY-SA license

and this model also from Mark Elliot,

Roles in Collaboration

















Tabaka, Jean, Collaboration Explained: Facilitation skills for software project leaders, Upper Saddle River NJ, Addison-Wesley, 2006



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