Tasks and Responsibilities in Teams

45 min



Competencies: Operation & Collaboration, Self-reflection, Workload Division

Learning Objectives

  1. Leverage knowledge, skills, strengths, and diversity to develop innovative and inclusive approaches to design/project challenges.
  2. Devise a plan that manages team dynamics towards completing the work.

Instructor Preparation

  1. Review the instructions on the activity guide Tasks and Responsibilities in Team Work Settings.

Notes for Instructors

  • This activity requires team discussions so students should already be in teams prior to this activity. Consider implementing this activity at the very start of a group project or just after teams have formed. Students should also know the focus of the team project prior to doing this activity.
  • This activity should be implemented after your students have at least a rough draft of a team plan or contract. Students should also have CliftonStrengths online assessment or in some other way identified the strengths that they are bringing to the team effort.
  • Rubrics are included to help you evaluate the work that the students submit.

Outline & Timing

Option 1 (In-Class)

Step 1: Introduce the purpose of the day’s activity (1 min)

  1. As you explain that today’s class will be dedicated toward responsibility-oriented teamwork, have students get into their project groups. Have each group sit around a table or with their desks in a circle.
  2. One student should act as a meeting note taker and track the group’s answers in a Word or Google doc that can be shared (with group members and/or you).

Step 2: Read the “The Miracle on Techwood Drive” section of the activity guide individually. (5 min)

Step 3: Discussion (5 min)

Quickly discuss with students the differences between tasks and responsibilities.
Points to make:

  1. Tasks are the small activities that must be completed to move a part of the project forward.
  2. If someone is responsible for a major step in the project (ex. Interim report), then they are responsible for moving that part of the project forward. They are also responsible for letting their teammates know what tasks they should be doing to move project goals forward. They are NOT responsible for completing all of the tasks in their managed project area. Each teammate should have a “major part/step” of the project that they are responsible for moving forward.
  3. This is a different way of thinking about dividing projects into individual pieces. The “usual” mode is to divide up the tasks and to have one person “leading” the team who is responsible for the entire project. This way of dividing the responsibilities and tasks usually leads to a more equitable division of work.

Step 4: Begin Activity Guide Steps

  1. Have students review their strengths (10 min)
    1. Students write down their strengths based on their CliftonStrengths results or previous strengths-based discussions.
    2. Groups organize their results, discussing areas of overlap and absence.
  2. Students list out major steps and determine responsibility (15 min)
    1. Students begin by making an outline of the major steps required to complete their project.
    2. After connecting these tasks to their own strengths, students map out who will be responsible for each major step.
  3. Update the Team Contract (5 min) – Step 3 of the activity guide
    1. The group’s note taker should update the group’s contract based on their work so far. If there’s no team contract, now is an opportunity to establish a plan all members will agree on.
    2. This time can also be taken to schedule the next team meeting.
  4. Next meeting prepwork (outside of class)
    1. Students should outline the tasks that seem most essential to the part of the project they are responsible for. In the next team meeting, students should start by discussing each member’s individual plans.

Step 5: Class Conclusion (4 min)

  1. Instruct students to share their updated contracts and reflections with you.

Option 2 (Homework)

Step 1: This assignment will be most impactful if done simultaneously during a team meeting where all teammates are present.

Step 2: Assign student teams steps one through four of the Tasks and Responsibilities in Team Work Settings activity guide.

Step 3: Optional additional activity: You may wish to ask students to answer the Expanded Discussion questions.

Step 4: Rubrics are included to help you evaluate the work that the students submit.

Activity Appearance