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Contracting into Teams

Texts to have read / found / watched

  • Writer/Designer chapter 5, on "Assembling Your Technologies and Your Team." (I apparently made the mistake of checking the chapter title on Amazon, and looked at the wrong version. I hope you just read chapter 5, regardless of the name.)
  • The criteria for the web design unit

Work to have done

  • Final version of your pitch website, with reflection, pushed to GitHub

Reflection: What Makes Groups Work?

Take a few minutes to reflect in writing, as per the "Process!" activity on page 83 of W/D:

Think about groups you've worked in, whether effective or – ahem – less so. Make two lists, which we might call "dos and don'ts": What aspects of group work have helped foster a positive work experience? What has led to problems? Is there anything groups in this class have done well, that you'd want to continue to do? Or to change?

We'll discuss as a class, but not past 11:15 or so, because I want to save most of our time today for small-group collaborative writing.

New Groups!

Social media campaign: chicken
Taylor, Eli, Sammie
Social media campaign: non-chicken
Jill, Alyssa, Annie, Jack
Interactive Infographics
Gwen, Casey T, Gabi, Lucas
Pittsburgh Food Guide*
Jappmann, Abby, Caleb, Casey R, Jeff, Jojo
  • Note that the Pittsburgh Food Guide team will almost certainly want to further subdivide, whether by neighborhood, or by content vs. presentation, etc. etc. Two teams of three might be nice.

Team Contract Negotiations and Drafting

Get in your new groups, and talk through your visions for the project, what you might bring to the team, what questions you have, etc.

Working together, compose a Team Contract as per W/D page 86. Aim to turn in this document by the end of class – or, barring that, the beginning of next class. (You can always revise by mutual consent if you need to.)

Some minimum components to get in writing, which you can copy/paste and then respond to, are in our criteria doc.

Turn in a version by the end of class, probably in someone's GitHub repo. It's okay to make this document flexible, and you can revise it later by mutual agreement.

But if you really feel your contract is unfinished, please say that at the top – and try to finish it by Thursday, because we're heading into the formal proposal stage next.

EXT: Using the GitHub issue queue to assign tasks

GitHub is really designed as a social platform built around git, and what I mean by that is that a lot of its features are designed to encourage and support collaborations among groups. One relatively recent and cool tool is the Project board. Check out this features list if you get a chance:

One of the first links will take you to the excellent introduction to Mastering Issues, which is also worth the 10 minutes if you haven't used issues before. (Basically, it's a discussion board with version-control bonus features.)

I've also set up a little artificial demo if you want to play around with any of this non-committally.

Before you leave

Please make sure you...

  • have direct contact info for all your groupmates
  • create a shared filespace for your group, and give everyone in your group editing access to it
  • turn in your team contract, with a note saying whether it's still rough or feels pretty solid
  • make a plan with your groupmates for immediate next steps (and timing)

For next time


  • Begin research toward your group project
  • Re-read Writer/Designer chapter 5 in light of your new groups, especially the section on "Proposing to Get it All Done," since we'll start work on the Project Proposals next class.
  • If you haven't yet, read through those links in the EXT section above; it should take about 15 minutes of your time, and mastering Issues will hopefully save you more than that in the future.


  • If you haven't yet finished your team contract, work as a team to get it done.
  • Prepare to collaboratively compose a group project proposal on Thursday; this may mean drafting together in a Google doc or the like, and if you have the time you may want to start before Thursday.


  • Last chance to sign up for a midterm conference and not be late (I've had the deadline at 11/9 for several weeks)