[opensource] Group Dynamics

Drew Yates yates at cse.ohio-state.edu
Mon May 22 23:19:01 EDT 2006

This "560 group" talk brings to mind a mystery that I've never quite been
able to puzzle a decent heuristic for...

What are all of your experiences with group projects with strangers and how
do you, by default, treat your teammates and what do you expect from them?

What are the best methods to participate in a group where everyone is
"equal" and has a equal stake in the reward, but may have unequal capacities
or expectations?

How do you maximize project quality, minimize aggregate work, minimize
personal work, minimize risk, or achieve any combination of these goals?

To Start (just a couple of scenarios I've come across...)

The Rambo: (++)Simplicity (*)Risk (*)Quality (--)Personal Work (+)Aggregate
You do the entire project yourself without contribution. The Risk and
Quality is equal to exactly your personal capacity. Total project work is
usually less than normal because there is no overhead, but, of course, total
work is equal to personal work.

Dueling Rambos:
In my experience, there can only be one Rambo. If two people are of the
Rambo mindset in a group, while there may be some initial cooperation, one
of the two (usually the more competent one) will eventually grow impatient
and take over and/or one will defer to the other and instead claim ownership
of a small piece of the project.
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