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Prepared by Ursula RutherfordResource library of advice on professional skills for student civil engineers, architects and builders working on group projects.Forming teamsYou will soon all be in your new teams ready to start on the project.
There’s a brief run-through of all 5 stages in this video of “Tuckman's Model in Plain English”.
The forming, storming and norming stages involve communication, cooperation, respect and trust– you need to show your team they can trust you to deliver on your promises and you need to demonstrate you trust them. The teams based in Coventry can work out your own ways of building your team; perhaps a social event like a pub visit or a game. Construction managers produce risk assessments as part of their construction programmes and you may regard this as a specialist task which doesn’t concern you. People with different personalities naturally have different styles of thinking and this can be very valuable in teams. Ways of communicating:You can probably think of several other ways you use to communicate with your team. Our international teams have some barriers to overcome; not only do they attend different universities in different countries but they’ve never met in person and are separated by timezones. To prevent risks like these from happening, or at least to be prepared when they occur, project leaders and other team members should assess the key risks of any project and determine how they can be addressed.
One format and approach frequently used to complete this risk management is a “light” version of the common failure mode and effects analysis (FMEA). In a meeting early in the process, the project team brainstorms and records potential risks. For each risk, the DMAIC (Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, Control) phase during which it is most likely to occur is identified.
Team members prioritize potential risks by calculating the product of the probability of occurrence and the impact on the project.
Team members should always double check whether the actions are truly actionable and will really help to mitigate the impact or the probability of occurrence of the risk.

The team assesses a new probability of occurrence for those risks that are adequately mitigated. Keep differences necessary for the different environments (environment variables, configuration) to a minimum in a minimum number of places. Focus with careful scrutiny on any differences between the testing and production environments as they are the riskiest aspects of the system. Be aware that the risk associated with a release into production is certainly not constant. DisclaimerThe opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions and do not represent my employer's view in any way.
You probably won’t know everyone in your team so getting to know them is a vital part of forming a team. This is why a lot of team-building exercises involve physical challenges and problem-solving, such as the ones on this video. The international teams may have to think about it a bit more; sharing information about each other helps.
The traditional way of assessing a risk is to establish how likely it is to occur and the severity of the impact if it actually happens.
But to complete a complicated project your team also needs to appreciate the differences between team members and use their strengths to the advantage of the team. Edward de Bono described 6 styles of thinking and visualizes them as 6 Thinking Hats as described in this video. It may take a bit of practice to swap hats but a friendly and supportive team is a brilliant opportunity to do just that.
For instance, a lack of team-member availability, qualified resources, customer information, data, proven technologies, a clear scope – or deficiencies in a number of these areas – represents a risk. The leader guides this session with questions such as, “What can go wrong?” or “What might prevent this project from being successful?” These risks are recorded in a modified version of the FMEA (Figure 1).

For example, if someone says, “We have tried to work on this issue before,” then the risk “solutions cannot be found” can be included in the project FMEA. They can create a traffic light scale to indicate which risks warrant mitigation actions and at what priority (Figure 2).
As the project moves forward, the team continuously updates the project FMEA and checks off the completion status of mitigation actions. As well as the obvious things such as your hobbies and ambitions for the future, you could consider showing you are prepared to trust your team mates with some anecdote from your personal history (such as the silliest thing you ever did or an occasion when someone successfully tricked you).
You assign a value in the range 1-5 for likelihood and another value in the same range for impact so you can prioritise it. When you try them out, you’ll probably find that the white and red hats work well in combination – stirring feelings in with information. The matrix will not be symmetrical because high-impact risks are considered more critical than risks with a high probability of occurring.
The second is that the release was messed up and the software released to production is not the same as the software released to the test environment.
As such, the business investor and other stakeholders must always be involved in the choice of when a release takes place. If likelihood multiplied by impact is greater than (say) 15 then that’s a severe risk to project success and you probably want to consider managing it.
Deciding how and when new risks are to be addressed is best done during weekly status meetings.
In order to minimise the risk of releasing the wrong software to a production environment, the following policies should be strictly adhered to.

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