Recently, I have been increasingly been assigned team projects as opposed to individual projects in my classes. In addition to this, I’ve taken some of my previous class teams and started work outside of the class on our own projects. My high-school self would be frightened by this, since usually “teamwork” meant more work with no team. However, at USC it’s different; now, I love teams!
In my Principles of Software Development class, we have previously been working individually on creating self-sustaining restaurants, complete with staff, customers, markets, and etc. For our final project, we have been divided up into teams of 6 or 7 and our task is to create an entire SimCity. I was assigned to be the leader of my group, and so I am taking the main role in getting meetings set up and resolving conflicts. The project is large, with banks, houses, apartments, markets, and restaurants all functioning on their own time, and it couldn’t be completed by a single person within the time frame. What really separates this from a high school team project is how these teams are functioning. Right off the bat, my team organized Facebook and texting groups as well as finding the best time to meet in person every week and discussing ideas. Everyone in the group was just as invested as I was, which is incredibly helpful. While I am officially the leader, our group has grown organically as we all throw out ideas and decide the direction of our project collectively. Currently, we are writing our Design Document that will outline everything within the city and how it interacts with everything else. For this, we met to decide on standards and basic methods of interactions before splitting up into two smaller teams for Scrum-style Agile development. After dividing into teams, we split the work into two parts, one for each team, and then sent each team to divide up the work and have a smaller range of collaboration in the initial stages. Once each team finishes its part of the document, we will come together to merge our two halves at our whole team meeting.
Projects like the SimCity project are common in class, but what I find exceptional and awesome is how my Video Game Production class has come together to work on our own extracurricular project. A group of ten of us in my class have been inspired by everything we’ve learned about the mobile games space, and we formed a group to make our own mobile game. We recently had our first meeting to form a concrete idea for the game as well as defining roles and beginning to build a timeline. For our game, we are building an endless runner based upon various changes in how your character interacts with the environment and following a story-line. Already, we have split up in our high concept phase by role to discuss the best route to standardize our designs, and this coming week I will demo my initial concept of an endless runner to see if our idea is feasible. It’s really exciting how everyone in the group is invested and playing to their strengths, just like in class.
Overall, teamwork is no longer a scary word; both in class and out of it, the level of motivation and talent that I’ve found in my groups has been incredible and it really becomes a fun challenge to work with other people’s ideas and work to form a product that no one in the team could make alone. Teamwork is now a highlight of my classes rather than something I dread.