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Engineering Team Performance Scale

Recovered work from NASA on assessing team performance.

This document was recovered via the internet archive from the URL, dated 11:46am EST, Sept 9, 1997 and copyrighted 1997 Institute for Computer Applications in Science and Engineering. As I believe this is very useful information, I have transcribed it here. The only changes made were for formatting.

Development and Validation of an Engineering Team Performance Scale

Scale Objectives

The scale was developed to capture the critical factors identified in successful engineering teams. The scale is intended to serve both as a diagnostic tool for ongoing teams and as an evaluative tool for teams when they have completed their tasks. The Team Performance Scale was designed to also be a) fairly brief and b) contain objective statements of team and individual behavior to facilitate accurate representation of actual team behavior and performance.

Team Performance Scale Design

Based on the findings from the survey of NASA-LaRC engineers and scientists (see Report on Perceptions of Engineers...) six factors of team performance were included in the Team Performance Scale. These six factors focused on team interactions among individuals and with the organization. An additional factor that dealt specifically with the evaluation of one's own performance on the team was also included. The factors and a brief description of each are:

  • Team Approach to the Problem or Task. The focus is on how the team defined the task assignment and debated its approach to solving it.
  • Team Leadership. Evaluation of how the team leader interacted with the team.
  • Coordination of Task Responsibilities. Focuses on the technical work of the team and the team product.
  • Organizational Support. Focuses on support and influence from the organization.
  • Communication and Feedback. Focuses on interactions among team members.
  • Team Roles and Norms. Focuses on the underlying team mechanics and operating rules.
  • Your Role on the Team. Focuses on your interactions with team members.

Rather than using a rating scale with descriptions at the anchors or endpoints, the statements includes objective behaviors for each value on the rating scale. The objective behaviors were developed either from specific findings from the original survey or from behaviors described in the literature for successful or high-performing teams. In all cases, the focus was on engineering design teams. Yet, many of the statements likely apply to other types of teams. The use of specific behaviors for each value on the rating scales was intended to increase the reliability and validity of the Team Performance Scale.

Team Performance Scale Instructions

Each of the following 7 sections examines a different aspect of team performance. Each section contains 4 or 5 series of rating statements. An example rating statement is shown below:

1: The team had unproductive meetings. 2: Team meetings were minimally successful. 3: Team meetings accomplished what was intended. 4: Team meetings allowed various issues to be fully discussed. 5: The success of the team meetings led directly to the team's success.

For each 5-point statement, read the descriptions associated with each number and then select the BEST alternative. While you may find that more than one alternative applies, please select the one that BEST or MOST ACCURATELY describes the team. For example, if you felt that “Team meetings allowed various issues to be fully discussed” best described your team experience, you would select “4” as your response.

Team Performance Scale Items

Team Approach to the Problem or Task

1: The task or problem is not understood by all team members. 2: The problem or task is understood and articulated by a minority of the team members. 3: The team accepted the task, although there were members who remain skeptical. 4: Most team members understood the problem or task and believed it could be solved. 5: The task or problem is accepted by all team members as reasonable and “do-able.”
1: Completion of the task was accomplished by one or two team members. 2: The task did not require everyone's participation. 3: Some team members picked up the “slack” from other team members. 4: All team members were needed for the task, but amount of effort varied among them. 5: Team success required the expertise of and fairly equal input from all team members.
1: The team spent very little time deciding on how to solve the problem or task. 2: The team spent some time deciding how to solve the problem, but is was superficial. 3: The approach to the problem was decided by one or a few of the team members. 4: The team debated a number of approaches to the problem and reached “consensus.” 5: The team thoroughly evaluated team members' suggestions to the problem and selected the “best.”
1: The approach taken to the problem could best be described as “standard” and conservative. 2: The approach taken to the problem showed little influence or benefit from the variety of team member inputs. 3: The approach taken to the problem was better than would be expected from any one individual. 4: The approach taken to the problem clearly incorporated the expertise of team members. 5: The approach taken to the problem was unique and innovative.

Team Leadership

1: The team leader seemed to be unsure and detached from the team. 2: The team leader was able to direct and lead the team on a few occasions. 3: The team leader provided adequate direction when it was needed. 4: Except for rare instances, the team leader understood where the team was going and provided leadership. 5: The success of the team was due in large part to the team leader's ability to meet the needs of the team.
1: The team leader appeared to avoid or deny team problems when they occurred. 2: The team leader expected the team to deal with team problems and issues. 3: The team leader confronted problems only when they became obvious and serious. 4: The team leader when confronted with problems acted only with team support. 5: The team leader dealt with team problems openly and immediately.
1: The team leader's style did not fit with the team's style of operation. 2: The team found itself looking to other team members for team leadership. 3: The team adjusted to the leadership style of the team leader. 4: The team leader's style was more of a team asset during some stages of the team's work than others. 5: The team leader “adjusted” his or her style as the team progressed.
1: The team leader did not have a good appreciation for the technical aspects of the task. 2: The team leader's understanding of the technical aspects of the task was limited during some stages of the team's work. 3: The team leader's technical expertise was sufficient to lead the team debate and decision-making process. 4: The team leader's technical expertise was apparent during almost all stages of the team's work. 5: The technical expertise of the team leader clearly facilitated the success of the team.

Coordination of Task Responsibilities

1: Team member task responsibilities were unclear and, in some cases, not met. 2: Some team members shifted their responsibilities off to other team members. 3: Most team members focused on getting their part of the task completed without concern for other members' progress. 4: The team focus was on getting individual assignments completed and putting the team product “together.” 5: Team members actively took an interest in and supported each other in terms of individual member responsibilities.
1: The task was completed with little or no need for the team members to share information and work. 2: The task required little communication among team members as long as the task was coordinated. 3: For the most part, the task required individuals to complete their own assignments and then “fit” the work together. 4: On several occasions, team members needed to share information to complete their individual task components. 5: The completion of the task required active interchanges and sharing of information among members.
1: The task assignments showed little relation to team members' expertise. 2: Although there was some effort to match tasks with team members, it was not always successful. 3: Task assignments matched member expertise. 4: Some task assignments went beyond an individual's own area of expertise. 5: Individual task assignments relied not only on an individual's expertise but that of other team members.
1: The coordination of individual task assignments was unnecessary or did not occur. 2: The coordination of individual task assignments was “loose” and “flexible.” 3: Task coordination could best be described as the “sequencing” of individual team member assignments. 4: Team members shared their progress on their own assigned tasks with other team members regularly. 5: Individual assignments often required the assistance or input from other team members.

Organizational Support

1: The team assignment never seemed to be a high priority within the organization. 2: The organizational priority given this team's activities varied throughout the life of the team. 3: The team's task fit within the organization's stated mission and goals. 4: The team felt that its work would be well received by the organization. 5: The organization made it clear that this team activity was important to the success of the organizational mission.
1: The team dealt with externally imposed changes in the team mission, team, membership, and/or support. 2: The team dealt with mixed signals coming from different divisions or branches within the organization. 3: Organizational oversight of the team's progress was apparent but not intrusive. 4: Organizational oversight of the team's progress was minimal. 5: The organization protected the team from outside influences and constraints.
1: The team sponsor appeared to discourage team activities or did not believe in the team mission. 2: The team sponsor provided little visible support and viewed the team primarily as “another one of his/her many responsibilities.” 3: The team sponsor's level of oversight did not hinder nor enhance the team's activities. 4: The team sponsor too a “hands-off” approach with the team unless asked to intervene on behalf of the team. 5: The team sponsor was clearly a “champion” for the team and its work.
1: Team members held differing opinions about the team's value to the organizational mission. 2: Most team members felt the team's contribution to the organizational mission would be minimal. 3: Aspects of the team's work appeared to be important within segments of the organization. 4: Most team members could see that the team's activities were important to the organization overall. 5: The team was of “one mind” in that its work was important to the organizational mission.

Communication and Feedback

1: Open and frank communication among team members never really developed. 2: Small cliques developed within the team. 3: Communication that occurred among team members was mot often task related. 4: Some team members shred feelings, but others seemed to be guarded. 5: Communication among team members was open and fairly wide-ranging.
1: Feedback from team members about ideas occurred infrequently or was often minimally helpful. 2: Some team members clearly had difficulty sharing their opinions with others. 3: Feedback provided by team members usually, but not always, kept the team focused and moving forward. 4: Feedback flowed freely in team meetings and members were expected to share thoughts and opinions. 5: Team members felt free to provide feedback to others regardless of their tenure or status.
1: Team debate and discussion did not always appear to be open to all team members. 2: Team debate and discussion was dominated by a few individuals. 3: The team strove to ensure that all members had their opportunity to offer opinions and suggestions. 4: The truly important decisions were fully debated by the team. 5: Team discussions were complete in that the team felt that the “loop” was closed on a topic before moving on to another.
1: Patterns of communication reflected underlying the underlying power and status of team members. 2: Some team members felt their ideas and suggestions were more beneficial to the team than those of others. 3: The team discussed ideas based on their merit and not on who offered the ideas. 4: Team members encouraged others (either verbally or nonverbally) to offer ideas and suggestions. 5: Team members showed a genuine interest and respect for other member ideas and suggestions.

Team Roles and Norms

1: The team's operating rules were never clearly defined or accepted by all team members. 2: The team seemed to let the situation dictate how it would operate. 3: The team developed an implicit set of rules and expectations to guide it in its team-member interactions. 4: The team explicitly defined the rules and expectations it had of its members. 5: Team members were comfortable in knowing what was expected in terms of team behavior and interactions at meetings.
1: The team could best be described as a group of individuals that never really related to or understood one another. 2: While the team developed a feeling “unity,” it was never able to include fully all team members in that feeling. 3: The team successfully overcame “hidden” agendas from some of its members. 4: Individuals acted for the benefit of the team rather than for themselves. 5: The team had a sense of itself that can only be described as being more than the “sum” of individual team member feelings.
1: There were few instances of team members openly sharing their feelings about the team's progress. 2: Most feelings shared by team members tended to be on the negative side rather than positive. 3: Team members felt it was appropriate to encourage one another on the team. 4: Encouragement of team members was expected and reasoned critique of other people's ideas was tolerated. 5: Team members were able to not only encourage one another but also to critique without fear of offending.
1: The team felt like it was behind schedule right from the beginning and never was able to adjust to that pressure effectively. 2: A sense of time pressure kept the team from really reaching its potential. 3: The team was able to keep to its time schedule although some team assignments fell behind schedule. 4: While there were times when the team felt a sense of time “urgency,” it was able to use its time effectively. 5: The team used its time effectively, and when appropriate stepped back to evaluate its progress.
1: The team suffered from a lack of direction. 2: The team “road map” was imposed on the team and was never fully accepted by the team. 3: While the team “road map” led to team success, it was not the most efficient or direct way for the team to operate. 4: The team “road map” clearly defined the team's direction and provided that sense of direction to team members. 5: The team developed its “road map” and, as a team, adjusted it to fit the team's goals and constraints as they developed.

Your Performance on the Team

1: I was unable to offer much that was constructive to the debate and work of the team. 2: My contributions to team discussions were almost exclusively supportive in nature. 3: My level of input and opinion, both in quality and quantity, was similar to that of most team members. 4: On several occasions, my comments let to changes and improvements in the team discussion. 5: I was a motivating and directing force in the debate that took place among team members.
1: I had difficulties completing my assigned team tasks in a timely fashion. 2: I was able to complete my tasks only because of help from other team members. 3: I was able to complete my portion of the task on time with little, if any, assistance. 4: I offered assistance to others and received assistance from others in completing my portion of the team task. 5: My technical assistance was needed by other team members for them to complete their portion of the team project.
1: I felt I was “out of the loop” on this team. 2: My role on the team was fairly limited. 3: I felt that I was valued on this team primarily because of my technical skills and knowledge. 4: I provided a number of supportive roles to keep the team functioning. 5: At times, I took on a team “directive” role in addition to my other team responsibilities.
1: I was hesitant to express my opinions during team meetings. 2: On a number of occasions, I felt my opinions would add little to the discussion. 3: I felt I was free to offer my opinions and thoughts during most team meetings. 4: I felt that my opinions were carefully considered by the team. 5: I felt that the team expected and encouraged me to express my opinions.

These instructions and statements are © 1997 Institute for Computer Applications in Science and Engineering.

Content Last Modified: 11:46am EST, Sept 9, 1997

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teaching/engineering_team_performance_scale.txt · Last modified: 2020.03.12 13:30 (external edit)