Friday, December 24, 2010

Teamwork: on knowing when to hand off the baton

One of the "skills" that I've picked up for handling group assignments is knowing when to disengage and move on to the next assignment. This is particularly helpful when I'm bogged down with a ton of assignments, because there comes a point when the time spent refining an already good assignment is much better spent working on something else. It's all about the law of diminishing returns.

There's no exact way to know when to disengage, but some of the questions that I ask myself are:
  • Will any additional input from me make this substantially better?
  • Have I learned everything that I can learn from the assignment? Or at least 80% of what I can learn
  • At this point, are we just working on stylistic/subjective edits? This is particularly relevant on any written assignment, since everyone has their own writing style
  • Is all of the necessary content there?
Once I get a sense that it's time to disengage, I'll normally just drop off and let whoever has opted to finish the assignment take the baton over the finish line.

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