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Working in Teams

Short name: WT
SITS code: BUCI005H5
Credits: 15
Level: 5
Module leader: Gordon McIntyre
Lecturer(s): Donal Fernandes
Online material:

Module outline

Teams and team work are at the core of today’s IT and IT-related enterprises and organisations. Understanding how to effectively work in teams is, thus, essential for new entrants to the IT industry. The module aims to familiarize students with a combination of the theoretical and practical aspects of both face-to-face and virtual team work. The first part of the module looks at team building, task management, team roles, as well as inter-team-conflict and conflict resolution. The second part of the module shifts the focus of the module to virtual teams, examining the different types of technology used in virtual team working, as well as the affordances and constraints associated with each type of technology.

Throughout the course of the module, students benefit from working together in teams, and hands-on use of the techniques, theory and technology they encounter in their classroom studies.

Learning Outcomes

· Understand the role and importance of teams in organisations

· Define the key characteristics of effective teams

· Explain the team development lifecycle

· Recognise the key skills needed to work in and manage teams

· Understand the range of technology used in virtual team work

· Understand the issues raised by using digital technology in virtual team work

· Use a range of groupware to complete team tasks

· Work successfully as part of a team

· Successfully manage a complex and demanding workload.


Session Guide





Teams and Teamwork. Introducing the Tutor Marked Assignment (TMA)

Groups and teams. Importance of teams. Types of team. Team formation. Team roles and functions. Leadership. Team rules and etiquette. Team communication. Tutor Marked Assignment (TMA).


Optimizing Team Performance

Team success and failure. Optimizing team performance. Conflict management. Individual contribution. Free-riding. Effective team meetings.


Task Analysis and Planning

Task analysis. Critical Path Analysis. Project planning. Project planning tools.


Virtual Teams

Virtual teams. Advantages and disadvantages of virtual teams. Virtual versus face-to-face teams. Issues in computer-mediated communication.

Self-study week


Connecting Virtual Teams

Groupware. Synchronous versus asynchronous technology. Video, audio, textual and mobile communications.


Introducing the Final Marked Assignment (FMA)

FMA introduction and planning.


Evaluation 2 – chat (Remote session)

Teams use and evaluate video-conferencing technology.


Feedback on Evaluation 1

Team feedback on session 7 evaluation. FMA planning and work.


Evaluation 2 – video-conferencing (Remote session)

Teams use and evaluate chat technology (Remote session).




Indicative timetables can be found in the handbooks available on programme pages. Personalised teaching timetables for students are available via My Birkbeck.


Students will work in teams (of four or five) on all the module assessments. Teams will be formed in session 1 of the module.









Team essay on tutor selected topic.

1500 word essay

Session 1

Start of Session 5



Team evaluation of two pieces of groupware

3000 word report

Session 6

Deadline To be confirmed by tutor

Recommended reading

Cook, S 2009. Building a High-Performance Team. IT Governance. Cambridge, UK.

Parker, G. 2008. Team Players and Teamwork: New Strategies for Developing Successful Collaboration. Jossey Bass.

Lepsinger, R & DeRosa, D. 2010. Virtual Team Success: A Practical Guide for Working and Leading from a Distance. Jossey Bass.

Settle Murphy, N (2012). Leading Effective Virtual Teams: Overcoming Time and Distance to Achieve Exceptional Results. CRC Press.