Forming a Group LO2710

Bill Mitchell (
Fri, 8 Sep 1995 08:31:24 -0500

I am "leading" a project team that is forming this week and next week. My
team has been given a time-boxed deliverable of Dec 31 to be completed.
The time box will force my team of 8 people to limit the detail in some of
our deliverable and the complexity of the project will force us to draw in
people from other parts of the company to provide their expertise. My
current thoughts on the group formation is that the 8 people on the core
team will be responsible for "leading" the working groups that draw in the
subject matter experts (SME). The working groups will investigate the
particular problem they are assigned and then present options back to the
core team. The core team will be responsible for selecting the final
option so that the overall project is optimized and not just one
component. Two of us on the core team have background with LO concepts. In
particular we see a real potential for the use of dialogue and the ladder
of inference. We are already using causal loop diagrams. Enough

We want to help the group to be able to grow in their ability to recognize
underlying assumptions and to be able to explicitly state & record the
assumptions when we recognize them. Unfortunately we do not have time to
go away for training so we are going to have learn as we go.

Question: In order to form an environment for dialogue to begin to take
place what is the minimum number of assumptions that need understanding
and enrollment. My early thoughts would point toward two:

1) We all want the project to provide the best result that we can

2) Everyone is acting rationally toward that goal.

Therefore when there is a difference of opinion we can trace it to one of
two causes:

1) People have different levels of knowledge about the topic and
so we need to educate each other so that we possess the same understanding
of the characteristics of the problem.

2) We have different assumptions about what is important and we
need to explore the assumptions so that we can all learn and grow

I admit that my thinking is early on this topic. But unfortunately the
business world does not wait for optimal solutions. So we are going to
press ahead. Anyone care to wade in and provide some insights?



-- (Bill Mitchell)