WebspirationPRO How To's - Collaborate on Team Ground Rules

How to Collaborate on Team Ground Rules


Ground rules are an effective tool when building teamwork by establishing expectations and helping to communicate the agreed upon rules for how the team operates. Teamwork typically has four stages: ”forming,” ”storming,” “norming” and ”performing.” The goal is to move from forming to performing as quickly as possible in order to meet goals and maintain positive morale. Some add a fifth stage to the process of teams – “adjourning.” Adjourning is the process of wrapping up a team’s work.


The first stage should involve establishing ground rules to define behaviors, procedures, logistics and any other guidelines that a team agrees to follow. Creating these ground rules as a team allows everyone to be part of the process and to be in agreement with the rules.


How to build team ground rules:

  • As soon as a team is formed, devote some time to establishing the ground rules. A team should collectively create, document and agree to the rules.
  • Rules should include what is important to each team member in terms of team behavior and norms. What is acceptable, and what isn’t?
  • Identify the expected activities and deliverables for the team and decide on the process for carrying out those activities.
  • The rules should be continually reviewed and enforced and should be added to and revised as needed.
  • In addition to ground rules, teams need clearly defined roles and responsibilities, a decision-making process, and a model for addressing conflict.
  • Once ground rules are established, go through the following checklist:
    • Does everyone agree to follow the rules?
    • How will you point out violations?
    • Where will the ground rules “live” so they can be easily accessed?
    • Has everyone provided input?
    • How will you incorporate new members?
    • How often will these be reviewed?

How to build team ground rules in WebspirationPRO

1. Open a new diagram or outline from the WebspirationPRO Starter screen, and name it “Our Ground Rules.”
2. Invite the entire team to collaborate on the document by sending them an email containing a built-in link to the document (Sharing>Invite).
3. In the message that accompanies the invite email, explain that the goal is to develop norms and rules that everyone can agree to follow to optimize teamwork and avoid unnecessary conflict.
4. Ask each member to record at least three ground rules that the team must follow to optimize productivity and harmony.
5. Give the team a deadline to enter their ground rules into the WebspirationPRO document.
6. Once all members have recorded their ground rules, schedule a meeting to discuss the list. Discuss each rule, combine similar rules and get consensus from the team.
7. Once the rules are agreed upon, publish the document to the web and share it with the team using the URL or embedded code in an easily accessible blog or wiki.

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