8 Artifacts To Seed a Project Team

When a new project or team forms, I like to create or designate these minimal 8 artifacts in the shared memory (knowledge repository). This can be a wiki, or something more sophisticated, but here they are:

    1. Contacts List – Who are we and how can we contact each other?
    2. Glossary – What terms do we use and what do they mean?
    3. Project Charter – Why does this project / team exist?
    4. Rules of Engagement – How do we work with each other?
    5. Chronolog – Communications, esp meetings notes
    6. Action Item Tracking System – How do we track what needs to be done?
    7. Calendar – What happens when
    8. References – Links to other related and relevant material

Let’s take a closer look at each:

  1. Contacts List. This should be a list of who, role, contact info – so that anyone can reach anyone else, whenever needed (even 24/7). Collaboration typically starts with “Let’s work together”, though after a project has been in existence for a while, “joining a collaboration” is more operational than “forming new collaboration”
  2. Glossary. The team keeps its terms explicitly visible. Where are may be alternative meanings, they are kept until the team resolves into new terminology, or resolves differences among the multiple meanings / definitions. At creation of a new collaboration, the key foundational concepts / terms can be captured to start such a glossary, and this serves to orient subsequent new members to the team.
  3. Project Charter. This is a statement of WHY the project or team has been formed. It should be clear enough that prioritizing any other decision or action can be assessed as necessary or irrelevant with respect to this charter. The charter is built out of the seed terms, by the seed founding team. The charter can be revised when appropriate, as decided by the team itself. Eventually, the charter should stabilize as the team understands what its purpose, mission, and goals are.
  4. Rules of Engagement. This is HOW the team will utilize its collective skills and resources to accomplish its objective, including deciding HOW. This needs to be acknowledged by each team member, and ought be created by the founding team members (one or more, up to all).
    Elements are:

    • Team Decisions. Decisions that have already been adopted by the team that should be the first practice of newcomers. Practices and decisions can be reviewed by the team if new information / options are available.
      • How do we make decisions?
      • Where do we keep our work?
      • How do we communicate with each other?
      • How do we change a decision?
      • How do we add members to this team?
      • How do we expel members from this team?
      • How do we manage assets? liabilities?
      • Legal issues / questions / ownership / liabilities / asset management
    • Use cases. Use cases are the WHAT that the team will do.
    • Methods. Methods are HOW to do the WHAT.
  5. Chronolog. A time-ordered log of team activities helps provide historical context for decisions, and also for newcomers to the team so that they can assimilate this history without requiring inordinate overhead from existing team members for onboarding the newcomer. Past decisions can be seen in temporal context, and the raw materials can be used to be authoritative.
  6. Action Item Tracking System. Actions taken as a result of planning, or meetings, or other team function, can be tracked in an AITS so that progress along all threads of activities can be explicitly visible and transparently shared among all team members. Sequences of actions create projects or larger-scale collaboration frameworks, but atomically all break down into specific action items.
  7. Calendar. This allows standard time-based views to be seen in forms familiar to those used to planning things in calendar mode. A calendar that is project-centric needs to offer events and other time-tagged objects that can then be viewed in personal calendars. This way, a project-centric sense of momentum, status, direction, etc. can be leveraged, although personal tracking will likely be based on personal calendars.
  8. References. These can be background material that provides context for THIS specific project / team, such as: guidelines, meeting minutes, related technical detail, competition, activities in the ecosystem, relevant vision statements, etc. A single place for such references assists all team members to sharing equal access to 3rd party content.

These eight artifacts are not meant to be comprehensive; it is merely suggested that these seed initial artifacts can accelerate the team’s achievement of PERFORMANCE mode.

More details later…

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