How to adjust to new partners on a team

Feb 05 2015

I started working on a project called Weather Wager last spring in a class. A group of my peers and I worked together to identify a news product based around weather, and we came up with a betting system. My team bonded well, and we each worked hard to test our project’s desirability, viability and feasibility. When the semester ended, two of those team members graduated and one moved on to work on other things. I wasn’t ready to give up on Weather Wager.

For months, I was the only person working on the project at all. Though I was able to get some work done, without anyone else to motivate me or keep me excited, the project began to slow. Eventually, I put the project on the back burner and it was left forgotten.

About halfway through the fall 2014 semester, the executive director of the Reese News Lab, John Clark, asked me if I wanted to resurrect Weather Wager with a new team. I excitedly agreed. I didn’t want to let the project fade and eventually be forgotten. Worse, I knew I would feel terrible if it continued on without me with an entirely new team leading the charge.

Now, three weeks into the semester, Weather Wager is back in the Lab, and I feel good about the work we have completed so far. Adjusting to new team members was definitely a bit of a culture shock. This is nothing against my partners. They are smart, hard workers, and they were up to speed in no time. But the foundation of Weather Wager is rooted in the work and ideas of my original teammates.

Suddenly, I had to get accustomed to working with new people on a project that I’ve been close to for the past year. They brought new ideas to the project and new expectations for me. I searched to find a way to communicate my ideas and understanding of the project with my new team members. I am learning to be flexible and accepting of new ideas. In fact, we’re working to pivot the project entirely. Working through the adjustment period and welcoming new ideas to the project will ultimately make it stronger and more successful.

The biggest challenge to deal with while bringing on the new team was figuring out how to express my new ideas to the group without being condescending to the group. I did not want to make anyone else feel like I thought my opinion was more important than his or hers. I have found the best way to ensure that everyone felt their opinions were validated was to always listen and consider everyone.

Overall, the transition has been smooth. I’m glad to be back in the Lab and continuing to develop my project. I could not be more excited to be working with this new team on an old project, and I think we will accomplish some really great things in the future.


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