Working together – 6/22/18

Published on Friday, June 22nd, 2018

Working together

By Eva Khoury, Pratt Institute ’19

It’s week 5 already here at SIP, and we’ve recently begun building the framework of our final game.

Every day has been a learning process in many ways; taking on new tasks, solving new problems, learning about new disciplines, etc. No one knows everything, but they can learn!

What I’ve realized is that working together as a team has been more important- and more of a process- than I could have imagined. I’m extremely lucky to be in great company; everyone here is very skilled at what they do, and passionate about making a great game. However, we quickly realized that those are not the only ingredients necessary to work well, make something great, and get it in on time.

For one, it’s important for everyone on a team to be able to safely voice their opinions, ideas, and needs. When someone isn’t heard and respected, it can easily snowball into the sort of frustration that kills your mood and motivation. Of course, avoiding this is easier said than done.

eva's teamAt first, my team’s discussions were like a bit of a wild free-for-all. Some people overran conversations while others didn’t speak at all, and at times it was tense. It was then that my teammate Tori Rossini suggested a simple method; we won’t interrupt anyone while speaking, instead raising two fingers to indicate that we want to respond, or raising a hand to start a new topic. Everyone shares the responsibility of upholding and moderating this system, and it worked better than I could have expected. We were all given the chance to be heard without having to resort to decibel warfare.

It’s also become clear that we all have different perspectives, backgrounds, and communication styles. It can be easy to jump to the wrong conclusion. I’ve learned that asking simple questions often is the way to go.. For example: “What do you mean when you say ‘xyz’? Here is what I understood…” Very often, I’m surprised by the answer. It’s always better to spend an extra moment making sure we’re on the same page than realizing too late after an unnecessary disagreement or time spent working in the wrong direction.

These seem like simple fixes – and they can be! But we only arrived at them after a period of spinning our wheels. Establishing healthy group norms has allowed us to go on pretty happily and efficiently now. It will always be a work in progress, but we’ve already come a long way. I’m excited to see where we’ll go next!

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