Tag: Communication

The Translators are coming…..

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It’s the end of week five and I must say this semester is moving along very quickly. This assignment seems to be taking up a lot of my time, especially when trying to co-ordinate people’s efforts. Although I am repeating myself, it has been a stressful and frustrating experience so far.

Having assumed lead roles at the beginning of the project, both Fionnuala and I seem to be the only project members concerned about completing the document as our deadline looms. Despite previously attending workshops on campus at UL, I have not spoken with nor met Fionnuala. We have, however, developed a “virtual” bond as we both strive to finish this assignment. We suggested to the project group that we create a Whatsapp ™ group, however, only Fionnuala and I were the only members who exchanged mobile phone numbers. In hindsight, a WhatsApp™ group should have been created during the first week of this project. It would enable real-time communication, resulting in quicker decision making.

Most notably, our U.S. project members do not seem overly concerned about this project nor the impact of them not contributing to it. Andrew assumed responsibility for creating graphics and promised to upload a finished document last Sunday (Feb 19th), however, a week later there hasn’t been any communication from Andrew!.

As a result, we missed the deadline (Feb 20th) for sending the document to our French translators. Fionnuala contacted me early on Tuesday morning (Feb 21st) and asked me to completed Andrew’s tasks. Upon completing these tasks, I sent the documents via email to our French translators, also copying Fionnuala on the mail. Noting that the U.S. project members are on a break from March 13th – 20th, I asked our translators whether it would be possible for them to return a translated document in advance of these dates. My reason for this was both Fionnuala and I would be the only members available to modify the graphics and layout of the translated document before the March 20th deadline. The translators replied indicating it would not be possible as they were informed they have three weeks to return the translated document.

Understandably technology doesn’t always work and some people may be uncomfortable using collaboration platforms. Jenny reported that her university email address doesn’t work and to use her Gmail account instead. It seems so far on this project, the U.S. students prefer to communicate using Slack and the French students prefer emailing me directly. Perhaps the French students do not feel comfortable posting online when not using their first language. The project now lies in the hands of the translators and we wait for the returned document. Using my experiences of this project so far, I will be asking them for regular updates in case Fionnuala and I will need to translate the document ourselves!.

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Communication is key!

Communication is key!

Upon reading the Virtual Team assignment specification, I noted the importance of establishing contact in the early stages with other team members. Due to time differences and varying break times throughout the semester, I understood the need to establish contact early in the week. Using Sulis, I created a post introducing myself, however, the only other post was from my University of Limerick classmate Fionnuala. In order for the project to gather momentum and to gather input from other team members, I created two new topics in Sulis. Firstly, I asked for team member’s preferred choice of topic and secondly, I was keen to establish an agreed collaboration day and tool. I was hoping that by being proactive it may encourage responses from our international team mates.

slack

I suggested Slack as a potential collaboration tool for our team. Slack is a free tool that enables public or private visibility of conversations within your team. It enables communication amongst team members via direct messages, exchange of files and making individual or group calls. Fionnuala agreed to test it out, therefore I created a new team in Slack called “team8-global.slack.com”. In the meantime, Li Guan (based in Paris) posted in Sulis and also agreed to evaluate Slack as a potential tool. I sent invites to both Fionnuala and Li so that they could provide feedback.

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This week highlighted some issues that arise when working in an international team. Typically a team face-to-face meeting is not possible hence technology is heavily relied upon for communication.  In my opinion, the lack of communication issues highlighted the need to establish a project manager who will be proactive in the initial stages, ensuring everyone participates. According to Brett Harned, “if you’re not making a strong effort to communicate with your team, you will likely fail”.

I understand that I will need to persist with contacting other team members as it is impacting any decision making thus may impact assignment milestones. A lesson learned this week is that communication is key!.