Skip to content
Home » Blog Posts » Team and Project Canvases Focus Student Collaboration

Team and Project Canvases Focus Student Collaboration

A team or project canvas can focus the effort of a student team

Student teams seem to fall into a variety of categories when they start their software engineering projects. Some organise themselves, and seem to follow your guidance about what to do in the term. Others, are not sure and seem to wait for you to tell them what to do. Others are somewhere in between.

Sometimes I find a team or project canvas helps the team organise its work. These set out the team’s purpose, goals, and other attributes. This seems to aid the shared understanding, which the team needs in order to have everyone working in the same direction. At the project level, it also makes the timeline more visual.

Image of the team canvas and project canvas
Team Canvas and Project Canvas

The canvas options

The project canvas from Over the Fence, is useful when the students need to consider a wider type of project. For software engineering teams this is useful to help them pull out and see the context in which they’re building a product.

The team canvas is a ‘business model canvas’ for the team. This is similar to a team charter in some respects. As with any canvas based on the BMC, you can fold it in half to ensure the items on the left, map to the items on the right. In other words, the people and roles, should be reflected in the rules and activities, and so on.

Using a canvas

Pick a canvas that resonates with you and the needs of your students. Fill one in with the details of a past project to see what sorts of things you might put in the different sections. Doing this now will help you answer student questions later.

Introduce the canvas to your students after you allocate teams. This will aid the exploration of context of their products. See how they use it to capture their ideas.

I see the goal with these tools is to build shared understanding. In the project canvas, this is the shared purpose and goal of the product being built together. The team canvas, as with a team charter, aims to bring each team member’s goals into alignment with the goal of their shared work. The two of them can work well together at different levels so the team understands its goal, and how it will achieve them together.

This post is part of a project pulling together my materials and ideas about Teaching Team Collaboration: the Human-Side of Software Development for software development to students. If you’d like to be notified of future posts, then please sign up for more using the adjacent form.

Cookie Consent with Real Cookie Banner