Charters are important documents to develop when working with a team. Charters help team members determine how best to work with each other, and keep a record of shared project goals, commitments, mission, and scope. Written collaboratively, charters ensure that each member of the team has a voice in the construction of the project, knows the plan, has a role to perform, and can stick to it. This is a living, breathing document that will continue to evolve as your project evolves (especially in spring semester when we move from analyzing our sources to analyzing data).
Because this document will evolve, you will not be graded on its completion; rather, the first round of the Charter will be due early in the fall semester to get you started, and you will be given course time to update your Charter throughout the year. At first, your Charter should address big picture concerns that are not goal-specific; these may be process oriented (i.e., what platforms will you use to share information?) or they may be values oriented (i.e., how will your group handle conflict? What character traits will you strive for as you work together as a team?). As the semester progresses, your Charter will include specific research questions, statements of significance, and measurable goals.
You will be given a template for the Charter, but your group may find it works better for you to create your own format: that’s fine. Each Charter should address the following questions (adapted from Miriam Posner’s DH 101 course):
- What values does your group espouse? How do you want to work together, and what do you want to be known for?
- How will you communicate with one another? What are reasonable expectations for timeliness in communication?
- How often will you meet outside of class? Where? Do you need a regular time? Will you set meeting agendas in advance?
- Do all decisions need to be made unanimously? Does the majority rule? If there is an instance of a group deadlock, what will you do? What will you do if a team member veers from the decided plan?
- How will you run your group meetings? What procedures will you implement to ensure that your meetings run on time and stay on track?
- How do you, as individuals, work with others, generally? What are some things that your group members should know about you or keep in mind? How can they help you do your best? What are your pet peeves from previous collaborative work?
- What are some things that you may need to consider changing about your own work habits to help your collaborators? Are there areas in which you can compromise or grow this year?