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4.4: Why and How Do You Use a Team Contract?

  • Page ID
    47375
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    THE PURPOSE OF A TEAM CONTRACT

    A team contract is a document that describes a team’s goals, norms, rewards, and sanctions. It is used to define group expectations and forces people to be explicit about their assumptions. It is created before the team starts to work on projects together and offers a framework for the discussion of disagreements within the team.

    HOW TO CREATE A TEAM CONTRACT

    • Use the following tips to create an effective group contract: Each team member writes down at least one point for each component
    • Suggested points are shared for discussion
    • Disagreements are resolved through discussion
      • Consensus is the goal, not majority rule
      • All team members should be heard
    • The team decides which points to adopt
      • Each section must contain the minimum number of points listed
      • More points may be incorporated, but avoid creating too many rules
    • The accepted points are written down as the team contract
    • The contract can be changed later by mutual agreement if it does not function well for the team
    • The contract is signed by all team members

    COMPONENTS OF A TEAM CONTRACT

    The following are the components of a team contract. They should be labeled as separate sections in your document.

    • Goals: What your team hopes to achieve (minimum 1)
    • Norms: Group belief about how members should behave in a given context
      • Meeting (minimum 2)
      • Working (minimum 2)
      • Coordination (minimum 2)
      • Communication (minimum 2)
      • Consideration (minimum 2)
      • Continuous Improvement (minimum 2)
    • Rewards: How the team will celebrate achieving goals (minimum 1)
    • Sanctions: How the team will address a failure to abide by norms (minimum 1)

    POINTS TO CONSIDER AND EXAMPLES

    OBJECTIVES

    • Learning objectives: “To ensure that all team members understand the course material”
    • Interpersonal relationship objectives: “To foster an atmosphere of mutual respect and learning”
    • Functional objectives: “To have efficient team meetings”

    MEETING NORMS

    • When will the team meet?
    • Are meetings mandatory?
    • Is being late acceptable?

    WORKING NORMS

    • How will decisions be made?
    • How will team members give and receive criticism?
    • How independently should we work?

    COORDINATION NORMS

    • Who will lead the team meetings?
    • Who will allocate assignments?
    • Who is responsible for keeping the meetings on track?

    COMMUNICATION NORMS

    • How will team members communicate outside of meetings?
    • How quickly should a team member respond to communication?
    • Are all team communications public?
    • How should a team member communicate an illness?

    CONSIDERATION NORMS

    • Are side conversations appropriate?
    • How will we handle disagreement?

    CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT NORMS

    • How will we track the team's progress?
    • How will we evaluate the work of others?
    • Do certain outcomes trigger a discussion?

    REWARDS

    • How will we mark achievements?

    SANCTIONS

    • How will we respond to a team member failing to meet obligations?
    • How will we respond to a team member violating group norms?

    WRITE THE TEAM CONTRACT

    1. Goals: What your team hopes to achieve
    2. Norms: Group belief about how members should behave
      1. Meeting norms
      2. Working norms
      3. Coordination norms
      4. Communication norms
      5. Consideration norms
      6. Continuous Improvement norms
    3. Rewards: How the team will celebrate achieving goals
    4. Sanctions: How the team will address a failure to abide norms


    LICENSES AND ATTRIBUTIONS


    This page titled 4.4: Why and How Do You Use a Team Contract? is shared under a CC BY license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Chelsea Milbourne, Anne Regan, Morgan Livingston, & Sadie Johann.