Team projects provide a real-world learning and leadership experience for Academy participants.
Goals The goals of the team projects include:
Generate learning in respect to a new subject area
Promote leadership skills as participants self-lead their teams to a successful conclusion
Enhance communication skills since participants must communicate with other team members from different agencies and the Executive Sponsor as well as effectively present their report to the local government agency or City Manager Association at the end of the process
Promote networking, especially with the Executive Sponsor and staff members in the client agency or with members of the City Manager Association
Provide valuable assistance helping a local government agency or the City Manager Association address a real-world challenge of significance
Ideal Projects Ideal projects for an Academy team feature the following attributes:
The problem to be addressed is a significant real-world concern for the local government agency or the City Manager Association.
The project is “do-able. In other words, it is limited in scope and can be addressed by a team over a six month period recognizing that team members have their regular full-time jobs.
The project is focused on a key “deliverable” that is of value to the agency or association.
The outcome of the project should not already be a foregone conclusion.
Expectations Academy Co-Directors: As Academy Co-Directors, Dr. Frank Benest and Greg Larson are expected to:
Solicit team projects and select the most viable for the Academy teams to address
Help organize the teams and orient them at the first session of the Academy
Provide some feedback to ensure the team’s plan of work is do-able within the time constraints
Schedule time at the end of each monthly session for the teams to meet
Schedule run-through team presentations to the Academy
Help schedule the formal team presentations with the City Managers Association
Executive Sponsor: The Executive Sponsor is a chief executive, assistant city or county manager, or department director who is the “go-to” person for the Academy team. It is expected that the Sponsor:
Describe the project opportunity and complete the Team Project Proposal Form
Focus the team project so it is do-able and identify the key deliverable
Meet with all the team members at the beginning of the project, mid-course, and at run-through practice session of the team presentation in order to provide feedback
Provide key documents and other materials or suggest how to access them
Recommend “key informants” whom the team members can interview
Be available to consult with the team if it confronts a major obstacle
Team Members: It is expected that the team members:
Help “lead” the team to a successful conclusion
Schedule meetings with the Executive Sponsor at the beginning, at the mid-point, and at the end of the project in order to present the team report
Adopt uncomfortable roles that stretch the participants (for example, if the participant is comfortable doing document research and analysis, the participant should interview key informants or help present the report)
Share in the work so no one is unequally burdened
Ensure that the project is do-able within the time available and communicate with the Executive Sponsor what will be in fact delivered by the end of the project
Seek out help from the Executive Sponsor as needed
As leaders, team members are also expected to deal with any problems, obstacles, and other “messiness” as the project evolves.
Final Team Presentation A PowerPoint presentation (but no written report) is required. The maximum duration of the oral presentation (not including Q & A) is 20 minutes. Two to three members of the team will make the formal presentation. Other team members can respond to questions and comments.
A run-through practice session of the team presentation will be held at the Academy during the last few monthly meetings. Executive Sponsors will attend this run-through and provide feedback. A formal team presentation will be made to the Executive Sponsor and key staff members of the local government client agency or to the City Managers Association.