Lessons Learned 1: Husband and Wife Team
During the entire project (6 months)
For the last 5 months, me and Philippe have been part of the Project Methodologies course, which aims to create a collaborative environment for students, giving them the possibility to work in small teams (one or two persons per group) and in co-production with two supervisors: one academic and one from the industry. Our task was to accomplish the course's requirements, to demonstrate our abilities in project management and to deal with the challenges that our project is facing.
At the beginning of the project, even if we've been together for the past 2 years as a couple, we've had some difficulties in understanding each other in the beginning. Philippe has a background in Robotics Engineering and I have been following the Innovation and Design programme, so even if our field are supposed to be quite with the same mindset, there were many differences in approaching the tasks. As an example, for me the communication between the group partners was extremely important and none of the tasks were completed without talking with the other one. For Philippe, he knew that he had to solve something and he did it, without asking around too much. We solved this issue by saying straight how we feel, so instead of filing a paper alone, Philippe was happy to share his thoughts with me, first.
Another example is regarding the language we spoke to each other. My master programme is taken in English, so I built my school related knowledge entirely in English. But when Philippe came, because we are both talking Romanian when we are outside of school, for him was odd to suddenly switch to another language. But we have discussed about our thoughts, feelings and approaches and we got accommodated to each other, and have found a middle way in how we work together. We kept English as main language when we are at school and might be other people around (it is not polite to talk in a language that they can not understand) and we agreed to speak Romanian in the rest of the time, but with translation of the important words, to help also my brain to explain the project terms is English.
Even if this project is part of the school course, we feel it like a couples coaching period. We are building another type of relationship, this time having the theoretical support for dealing with our challenges. We've learned how to communicate inside a team, but most important, we know now how to support each other in maximising the project results. Our project status is in expected parameters and we are feeling confident about the job that needs to be done, being happy with our group flow.
The lessons that we've learned can be applied in any other team context, not only when the group is formed by two family members. The most important one is regarding communication: each individual has his/hers own habits and expectation, but no matter how rooted they are in his/hers personality, there will always be a possibility for adaptation if people are trusting each other and are open for finding a common ground.