Spontaneity can be great! We didn’t know exactly where Sean would be on Wednesday, but we took a chance and made a quick, unexpected trip to the StartX offices and it really paid off!
Alec, Valerie, and I seem to work best in person – we can each have a document up on Google Drive while discussing our work in person, and we tend to be very productive this way.
It’s important to be patient with communication between the Stanford and Tsinghua parts of the team – it took us a while to find a groove for communication, but now that we’ve found the best methods of communication we’re doing much better.
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Writing the scope of work was both challenging and fun. It was challenging because at that time, we still did not really have a solid idea on what direction our TSU collaborators wanted our group to take and was unsure on some aspects of their project. It was fun because the challenge really forced my group to think about what direction we personally wanted to take which can be seen in our project scope of work!
Keeping everyone in the loop is important.
After a meeting, summarize what was talked about and reiterate action items.
I learned that meeting your collaborators in person is very helpful and also very fun! We met Sean this week as he was traveling around the Bay Area and it was awesome to get to talk with him both on a personal and academic level. It was beneficial in getting us even more excited about the research that we will be conducting in the coming weeks and also in solidifying exactly what we will be doing. Though this conversation, I learned that when the language barrier is present (as it definitely present in this situation) it is important to allow the person you are conversing with think and give them time to respond. There were some awkward pauses, but we pushed through the language barrier and were able to get substantial value out of the conversation.
I talked about this last week as well, but it has been a long process getting the ball rolling on the research. However, getting the scope of work finalized and having that deadline was beneficial in grounding the project. It has taken a lot longer to solidify our plans that I originally anticipated. However, in the next week we will be sending out an online survey and begin conducting in-person interviews!
It's a good idea to review the main points gathered from previous Skype sessions just to ensure everyone is on the same page. Given the language and cultural differences, it's not unlikely that there were some misinterpretations of goals and responsibilities. Always good to double check.
I've learned that it will be good in the future to be more disciplined about doing a little bit of research every day in order to complete the lit review on time.
We've worked hard to figure out what our role in the project is, but now I'm a little unclear on what our partners' roles are. We all agreed that Geena and I would perform research and make recommendations, but it's looking like our recommendations will influence the entire form of the app, and I'm not sure what our Tsinghua partners are prepared for. So I learned that it is important to understand not just your tasks, but everyone else's tasks and timeline.
- Teambition is a great way to share documents with teammates in China
- Being concise is really valuable, especially because of the language barrier. Caroline and I sent our teammates some documents from the d. school about interview and needfinding techniques, but in addition to sending them all the documents, we synthesized them into a list of bullet points so they could easily read the essentials.
- Sending follow-up emails about tasks to complete is good form and is appreciated by our teammates!
- Our Stanford in Beijing counterparts can be really useful to us! Caroline and I are asking them to help our Tsinghua teammates with interviewing tasks, and it would be great to promote more collaboration that way. Hopefully it works out!
- Confirm each week's meeting and check Chinese holidays
- Be creative: our teammates were about to give up completing additional surveys requested by CAA because they could not convince Tsinghua students to help them. Together we tried to find other ways to find people to help our teammates conduct new surveys: reach out to Stanford students in Beijing, partner with Wukong, the other green freight team of the class.
- Our Tsinghua teammates appreciated that we took their challenges seriously and thought about alternative solutions to overcome challenges.
- It seems that Ray is our head contact with the Tsinghua partners. If we have any questions, she is definitely the person to ask.
- Also, I need to download QQ on the phone, since I was bad at checking it on my computer and missed out on some updates.
- Also, Christina and I should have set meeting times so we can get things done in a timely manner.
- Having the Tsinghua partners keep us accountable will be very useful
- Hard to find research evaluating US programs - most of the literature is full of praise for the US Smartway program (used as a model internationally).
- QQ International exists, which means I can actually read the buttons in QQ on my phone. Also there is an automatic translate option which is great when our partners communicate in Chinese!
- Ray is a champ. Also, life is always important to factor in, since one of our members (Ella) has been in the hospital for a while now! We hope she feels better.