A METHODOLOGY FOR FORMING EFFECTIVE STUDENT TEAMS IN ENGINEERING CLASSES
The complex nature of engineering systems mandates that engineers work within interdisciplinary work teams capable of sharing knowledge and expertise. These teams should possess all the necessary technical background needed to solve the problem. In addition, team formation requires the consideration of the interpersonal skills that has a profound impact on the success or failure of teams.
Training engineers to work within teams is considered a major concern in engineering education. Engineering teams could range from pure functional teams focusing on a single technical task to cross-functional teams where an engineer needs to interact with team members from other disciplines. This requires careful selection of team members such that a team can achieve its goal. Forming an “ideal” team that possesses all the correct interpersonal characteristics is considered a challenging task due to the difficulty and ambiguity in assessing team members’ personality types and determining the personality types that best fit the task assigned to the teams.
This paper proposes using the Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) as a basis for assessing the personality types of team candidates. The paper provides a systematic approach that utilizes QFD as the overall structure that captures all the information needed about the task assigned to the team including the technical and interpersonal requirements needed to complete the task. Also, the QFD matrix is used to capture all the information about the performance of the candidates with respect to the technical and interpersonal requirements needed. Then, all the information available in the QFD are used in an integer programming model to select the candidates to be included in the team.
The developed approach was tested by conducting an experiment using students enrolled in the “Product Development” course. The results of the experiment showed that the proposed approach has the ability to predict the performance of the teams and can be used to form effective engineering teams.