Methods of teamwork on the project

If our project is not a purely individual undertaking, we have to make sure that the project team is formed, and this can be achieved if the partners in the implementation of our plan are included in its development from the very beginning.

Since any project is limited in time and there are noticeably fewer long-term projects than medium-term ones, and especially short-term ones, a situation very often arises when those who have gathered for collective work are not yet ready for it. There are people, but no team. It will arise when, firstly, some common values are established (or confirmed) and, secondly, when mutual understanding turns into interaction technology (what is called understanding from a half-word).

A number of methods allow you to activate the innovative potential of the group and at the same time contribute to the formation of the project team. We will briefly characterize the features of such methods as brainstorming, synectics, business game, focal object method, TRIZ, control questions method, scenario creation method.

Brain attack. The brainstorming method is a method of collective mental work aimed at finding non-trivial solutions to the problem under discussion and based on the removal of barriers of criticality and self-criticism of the participants. At the same time, “there is a possibility of transition to someone else’s logic – the logic of a neighbor, thus, the creative potentials of the participants in the attack, as it were, are summed up” 22 . Brainstorming is one of the most effective ways to activate the creative forces of the initiators of a social project.

The development of the method belongs to Alex Osborne, who gave it the name “brainstorming”. Osborn’s idea, one of the popularizers of the method, M. Small, states as follows: “You must consider this or that subject from all possible points of view and fix all the ideas that simply come to mind, no matter how far-fetched they may seem. You must stir up your brain until you extract from it all the thoughts that exist in it. Osborne suggested holding special conferences on this principle. It was “meetings”, collective discussions according to the special rules of “brainstorming” (and the method is also used for individual work) that became the main form of its application.

Mandatory requirements for brainstorming, arising from the essence of the method, are the equality of the statuses of the participants, limited work time, and a ban on mutual criticism in any form. Participants know in advance that they do not bear any responsibility for the implementation of their constructive proposals (the often used principle “initiative is punishable” does not apply here).

Brainstorming technology can be represented as follows.

Brainstorming participants (best of all, within 10 people) are arranged in a room according to a certain plan, usually facing each other and at such a distance that contact is possible, but a certain autonomy of the participants is maintained (distance – about 1-1.5 m ). The facilitator then brings the participants up to date for about 15 minutes: he presents the problem to the group and asks the group members to come up with as many solutions as possible without preliminary thinking in a short period of time. The attack lasts from several minutes to an hour and consists in the fact that the participants alternately express ideas and proposals that come to their mind regarding the solution of the problem. Any statement is encouraged (including incomplete, indistinct), the promotion of unusual and unrealistic ideas is stimulated.

The performance time of each participant, as a rule, is no more than 1-2 minutes, you can perform many times (preferably not in a row). In conclusion, the facilitator informs about how the ideas expressed will be applied, and invites to report new ideas on the problem, if they arise (in writing within 24 hours).

It is believed that “there should be only a few people in the group who are knowledgeable in the problem under consideration in order to give full play to the imagination of the participants. Persons with special knowledge, too skilled in this or that matter, are undesirable. Their desire to comprehend the expressed ideas in accordance with the existing experience can shackle the imagination” 24 .

In the course of brainstorming, all statements are recorded (usually by a person not participating in the discussion, or on a voice recorder, tape recorder, video recorder). The text entry does not contain attribution: the result is considered a common achievement.

But without processing the results, brainstorming would be fruitless. The second stage is the work with the received material. This is where the positions of the expert and the decision maker come into play. Ideas and proposals received at the first stage are subjected to criticism, classification, selection of options according to the requirements of realism.

A variation of brainstorming is the Gordon technique. Its feature is that the participants are not informed of the reason that prompted the brainstorming. The ideas expressed are only recorded without any discussion, so that they can then be processed using various methods 25 .

The rules of brainstorming also contain the method of related evaluation, which in essence is an exchange of opinions structured in accordance with the nature of the problem under discussion.

When there are few initiators of the project and they do not have the opportunity to widely involve outside participants for brainstorming, they can act both as “attackers”, and as “writers”, and as “criticizers”. But each of the tasks must be separated from the others, each time playing the appropriate role.

Synectics method. The method of synectics, which is similar in technology to brainstorming (synectics, in Greek, is the combination of heterogeneous elements), is often called professional brainstorming 26 . Unlike brainstorming, which deals with the non-professional production of ideas, synectics involves the work of permanent groups that professionally apply various methods of activating their creative potential.

Synectics groups include representatives of various specialties, scientific disciplines, age groups, etc. Requirements for group members are made primarily in relation to their skills: to overcome the inertia of thinking, to highlight the essence of the task and form an outside view of it; organize the work of your thinking in the form of free reflection and fantasy; delay the further development of the ideas found and believe in the existence of better ideas; favorably perceive and develop other people’s ideas; purposefully and confidently work on the task, not doubting their abilities and the abilities of their comrades; see the unusual in the ordinary and vice versa; identify the special and use it as an initial stage of creative search.

The optimal size of the group is 5-7 people who are trained for work within 8-12 months (general scientific, professional and psychological training). The purpose of the group is to find creative solutions to the problem that has arisen. At the session of synectors, such solutions are being sought on the basis of the following principles:

– the creative process is cognizable;

– the creative process of one person is similar to the creativity of the team;

– the search for a rational solution and creativity can be activated.

Prior to the session of synectors, the problem is formulated in general terms, but no one, except for the leader of the session, knows the specific conditions of the problem being solved. At the session, the discussion begins with highlighting some of the signs of the problem, and not with its general formulation.

Describing the technology of synectics, V.N. Sokolov gives the following example: if the problem of providing a large city with car parking is to be solved, the discussion can begin with a discussion of the storage of spare equipment.

Through the discussion of more specific issues, the leader of the session gradually directs the attention of the synectors to the problem as a whole. With the support of specialists, a “tour” is conducted in various scientific fields, which makes it possible to identify possible analogies (including symbolic, fantastic ones).

It is important that specialists in the very content of the problematic task participate in the search for its solution: they are called upon to identify constructive hypotheses through analysis. The formulation of the problem, the transfer of hypotheses to the problem and the identification of their heuristics are the result of the session of synectors.

Business game. A business game is an imitation of making managerial decisions in various situations by playing (playing, playing) according to the rules set or developed by the participants in the game 11 . The use of business games for the development and adoption of managerial decisions makes it possible to apply this technique in the preparation of a social project.

Various directions have emerged in the technological support of business games. Many of them go back to the works of Georgy Petrovich Shchedrovitsky (1929-1994), who singled out methodology as a separate area of intellectual activity and, on this basis, gave impetus to the formation of a whole school of organizational activity games (OGA). The first ODI was held in 1979 on the topic “Development of an assortment of consumer goods for the Ural region.” Thus, from the very beginning, organizational and activity games turned out to be associated with social and design tasks.

In ODI there is a group of methodologists independent of the players who develop the rules and scenario of the game, based both on the “task for the game” (that is, on the specific tasks of this project) and on the general principles of organizational and activity games. Methodologists also lead the game, controlling the actions of the participants.

The game is played by several groups. Usually, two (or more) competing groups are formed on the main subject of the game. In addition to them, groups are created that express the position of external stakeholders (for example, the groups “ministry”, “consumers of services”, “environmental service”, etc.). A group of experts works separately, which does not interfere in the course of the game and provides explanations, consultations, and additional information on the subject of the work.

Competing groups of designers prepare their versions of the project for discussion (in a multi-day game, parts of the project according to the game plan) and submit them for general discussion. Each of the groups (in our example, the “ministry” and others, as well as competitors) ask questions to the speakers, criticize the project, and offer their solutions. Based on the results of the discussion, the methodologists analyze the results and each group draws up its position in writing. By the end of the game, there are several projects and materials for projects. There are so many of them that it is necessary to create a special group to process proposals and bring them together in a common final document.

The business game allows you to achieve non-trivial results in clarifying the idea, in working out complex design issues and interaction with the environment, as well as in writing the design development text and in uniting the project team.

Method of focal objects. The focal object method is a way of constructing a new object by applying the properties of other objects to it. It was proposed in 1926 by the German professor Kunze (“catalog method”), improved in the 1950s by the American scientist Charles Whiting.

The method aims to overcome the inertia of thinking when solving creative problems and to activate the ability for innovative solutions by transferring the features of randomly selected objects to an improving object, which should be in the focus of transfer 28 .

Achievement of this goal is ensured by the following procedure:

1. It is called (fixed, for example, on a blackboard or computer display) an object that is to be improved (in general, changed for some purpose).

2. Arbitrarily (without intentional connection with the studied) other objects are called (fixed) (mainly denoted by nouns).

3. Objects (paragraph 2) have features, characteristics (mainly denoted by adjectives).

4. These features are applied to the original object (point 1), and on the basis of new combinations, an extraordinary solution is searched.

Attaching the features of random objects to the focal object becomes a source of hypotheses, with which further work is carried out as with new design ideas: they are given an expert assessment, they are selected and considered from the point of view of possibilities and ways of implementation. What is important here is that the associative series is supported by unexpected hypotheses.

For example, we intend to create a new type of playground in the yard. Using the method of focal objects, we fix several arbitrarily chosen objects for further work. Let’s assume that such objects are named “sofa”, “snake”, “telephone”, etc. These objects have their properties highlighted – “unfolding” for the sofa, “flexible” for the snake, “ringing” for the phone. Applying these definitions to the playground, we get prototypes of non-standard ideas: our playground is unfolding, flexible, ringing. It remains only to develop these definitions into technical solutions.

The advantage of the method can be considered the maximum activation of the associative mechanisms of creative activity. It also provides a regrouping and displacement of value structures, resulting in a new value structure.

The disadvantages of the method are that interesting and unusual solutions do not have the nature of systemic activity and are not effective with precise goal setting.

TRIZ. To develop the innovative abilities of designers, the theory of inventive problem solving (TRIZ) developed by G. S. Altshuller in 1946 and brought to the technology in the early 60s can be successfully applied.

For social design, the following conceptual provisions of TRIZ have an applied character:

— The best solution to the problem arises when a technical contradiction (TC) is identified and overcome.

– The ideal end result (IFR) is that the system itself must ensure the performance of a beneficial action, while eliminating a harmful action.

Algorithm for solving inventive problems (ARIZ) includes:

1) task analysis (transition from the situation to the task model, identification of TP);

2) analysis of the problem model (accounting for available resources and their system analysis);

3) definition of IFR and physical contradiction (PC);

4) mobilization and application of material-field resources (VFR);

5) the use of the information fund (techniques, principles for resolving contradictions, indicators of effects);

6) change and/or replacement of the task;

7) analysis of the method for eliminating the FP;

8) application of the received answer;

9) analysis of the course of the decision.

Within the framework of TRIZ, the RVS (Size-Time-Cost) operator has been developed, which is used to loosen the inertia of thinking when operating with strict limits on the size, time and cost characteristics of an object. This is an interesting technique for social design, where just the triad of these characteristics is used as a hard limiter.

Work with the RVS operator is carried out in the following order:

1. The available characteristics of the size, time, cost of the object are evaluated.

2. Consistently changing these characteristics, up to the use of clearly absurd options (“the duration of the conflict situation increases to infinity” – “the duration of the conflict situation decreases to zero”, etc.).

3. New characteristics are combined with practical parameters (including the target setting) of the problem being solved.

The use of the RCS operator helps to form realistic assessments of both the existing problem and the ways to solve it.

Another methodical technique is the study of the problem of maximum use of material-field resources. VPR includes material, field, information, spatial, temporal, human and all other resources available to us.

The procedure is as follows:

1. Estimate intrasystem VPR.

2. Estimate external system VLOOKUP.

3. Evaluate over systemic CDF.

The method makes it possible to systematize expert assessments in terms of system characteristics of the object.

The disadvantage of the method is the difficulty of separating the system characteristics of an object by levels (intra-system, external-system, supra-system) in the case of operating with social objects.

Method of control questions. The method of control questions is a work with a list of specially selected questions that help to accurately determine the essence of the task being performed.

Questions are arranged in a certain sequence. One or another participant in the development of the project formulates the answers to them in connection with his task in the form of a monologue or dialogue with other participants.

There are several checklists compiled for inventors. One of them, A. Osborne’s list, is given as the most suitable model for compiling such lists during the development of a social project 29 :

1. What new application can you suggest for a technical object? Are new uses possible? How to modify known uses?

2. Is it possible to solve an inventive problem by adaptation, simplification, reduction? What does this technical object remind you of? Does the analogy spark a new idea? Are there similar problem situations in the past that can be exploited? What can be copied? What technical object should be ahead of?

3. What modifications of the technical object are possible? Is it possible to modify by rotation, bending, twisting, turning? What changes, purposes (functions) of color, movement, smell, shape, outlines are possible? Other possible changes?

4. What can be increased in a technical facility? What can be added? Is it possible to increase the time of service, impact? Increase frequency, size, strength? Improve quality? Add a new ingredient? Duplicate? Is it possible to animate work items or the entire object? Is it possible to exaggerate, hyperbolize elements or the entire object?

5. What can be reduced in a technical object? What can be replaced? Is it possible to condense, compress, thicken, condense, apply the method of miniaturization, shorten, narrow, separate, crush something?

6. What can be replaced in a technical object? What, how much to mix and with what? Another ingredient? Other material? Another process? Another source of energy? Other location? Another color, sound, lighting?

7. What can be converted in a technical object? What components can be interchanged? Change model? Change the layout, layout, layout? Change the sequence of operations? Transpose cause and effect? Change speed or pace? Change mode?

8. What can be reversed in a technical object? Transpose positive and negative? Is it possible to swap oppositely placed elements? Turn them back to front? Flip upside down? Swap roles? Flip clamps?

9. What new combinations of elements of a technical object are possible? Is it possible to create a mixture, an alloy, a new assortment, a set? Combine sections, nodes, blocks, aggregates? Combine goals? Combine attractive features? Combine ideas?

These questions can be easily modified to suit the needs of a particular project.

Scripting method. Creating a scenario is a representation of a social project in the form of a description of the sequential development of events that are envisaged by it or may follow from it, linked by resources.

Holiday scenarios are well known to most designers. They indicate the place and time of the holiday and its successive course. From the script, we know when the fanfare sounds, giving a signal for the opening of the holiday, when the choir sings, and after which the festive fireworks begin. In the same way, one can imagine many social projects where the event side is clearly distinguished.

The advantage of the method is that the script allows you to realize those aspects of the project that otherwise would not be noticed. At the same time, it is also a detailed project plan, where the hard work of synchronizing events and available resources has been carried out.

Several scenarios can be developed that provide options for the development of the project, depending on the change in any factor (for example, on the amount of funding). Often, the method of creating scenarios is associated precisely with the nomination of at least two alternatives for the development of events. However, it is practically impossible to foresee everything, and even the best-designed or alternative scenarios can be destroyed due to minor failures and force majeure (insurmountable) circumstances.

The parade (“defile”) that preceded the opening of the 16th World Cup in Paris (June 1998) was conceived by the mayor’s office of the French capital as the largest socio-cultural project (and at the same time as a form of reducing the tension of fans who arrived in the city from various countries). Since the World Cup was the last of that millennium, the parade reflected the desire of the organizers to present symbolic images of the fate of mankind. Four columns were moving towards the Place de la Concorde from the four ends of Paris – motorcades of fantastic masks, in front of which were moving 20-meter inflatable figures with a human appearance – Romeo (symbol of Europe), Ho (symbol of Asia), Pablo (symbol of Latin America), Musa (symbol of Africa). From time to time, the motorcades stopped, as “obstacles” blocked their way: Pablo had to overcome a field of living cacti and some unimaginable bugs on stilts; Romeo got into a traffic jam – a sign of the problems of a modern city, etc. Having united in the Place de la Concorde, Romeo, Ho, Pablo and Musa became a kind of football team, and a real celebration of young football players began. This grandiose idea assumed the synchronous work of a huge number of people. There were only 5,000 actors who participated in the corteges and events on the square, 1,998 young football players from all over the world were involved in the performance, and 1,000 technical specialists were involved in the TV show of the parade. The parade at the very end was unexpectedly blurred. Due to unforeseen minor delays, the columns arrived at their meeting point 30 minutes later than scheduled. During this time, the weather changed, and the most spectacular part of the event (which took just about half an hour) began in heavy rain, accompanied by thunder and lightning.

Weather conditions in general should be provided for by scenarios of mass holidays: we need options for scenarios in case of bad weather. Requires accounting and much more. In large events such as city holidays, carnivals, festivals, the same staged fragments are often repeated many times. This allows you to provide a spectacular effect at a lower cost, so working in modules is correct in terms of minimizing costs. But in such cases, it is necessary to coordinate the actions of the organizers of the holiday with the actions of the media in order to prevent the demonstration of the same numbers in television and radio broadcasts, otherwise the work on the modules will turn into repetitions.

Mistakes of this kind took place in the demonstration on television of events dedicated to the 850th anniversary of Moscow. In addition, many of those who happened to be at the festive performances were puzzled by the orientation of the directors towards the TV audience: the audience on Red Square cannot understand the scenes based on the facial expressions of the performers. Many of the shortcomings of the generally well-organized holiday were the shortcomings of the scenario study – and precisely in the sense of social design.

The artistic side of the scenario and its social orientation (in the sense of the well-thought-out social and everyday circumstances of its implementation) are not the same thing, and this difference is revealed with particular force in mass holidays. Lack of hot meals or overload of transport can completely spoil the festive mood.

The possibilities of using the scenario method for social project activities are significantly limited. The disadvantage of the method is that projects that are not based on a repeating series of events are difficult to work through with its help.

Scenario technologies can also be used for other purposes, for example, when designing various kinds of negotiations, when it is important to foresee our actions in advance. In some technologies for training “negotiators”, the following technique is used: the student learns a business dialogue from a video recording of the corresponding episode from a feature film, where a successful negotiation model is presented. At the same time, both the wording and the manner of behavior are memorized. Reception is primitive, but teaching role-playing behavior. In more complex scenario work, contacts are evaluated, allowing a decision to be made on the appropriateness of interaction.

The graphical model developed by Yu. D. Krasovsky shows the beginning of a consulting scenario, which ended with the consultants’ refusal to cooperate with a potential customer. During the meetings, it became clear that the head of the firm took over all the powers, leaving his managers only responsibility, and in this case, organizational consulting loses its meaning. But in order to make a decision to terminate contacts with the customer, it was necessary to clarify the real situation in sufficient detail, which is reflected in scenario 30 .

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