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I am at the 2.5-week mark for Capstone 1 as I am writing this post. My group and I had our first chat call with our facilitator tonight. Originally, I thought about writing a post with my thoughts and what worked/did not work for me after I finish Capstone 1. However, I decided to provide a more real-time update as I find these posts are generally more relatable.

RELATED POST – CPA Capstone 1 – Tips on How to Do Well

Capstone 1 Week 1 to 2 Submissions & Tips

Since Capstone 1 is quite different than the PEP modules you have taken so far, it can get a bit confusing at first. For your reference (note, I am taking Capstone 1 in May 2021), here are the submissions required for Week 1 to 2:

TimelineSubmission(s)
Prior to Module WorkshopIndividual: Module Workshop Prework
Friday after the Module WorkshopGroup: Team Agreement, Team Schedule & Team Project Plan
Individual: Module Workshop Survey
Friday of Week #2Group: Part 1 of Capstone 1 Report (1,500 words)
Individual: Peer Assessment, Self Assessment
CPA Capstone 1 Week 1 – 2 Submissions

Team Agreement

  • spend some serious time on crafting the team agreement because the whole agreement, with the exception of one section, is tailored for your group and your group only
  • for my group, we spent about 1.5 hours on this as we wanted to make sure expectations are laid out clearly
    • for example, we agreed as a group that we are expected to check our Whatsapp group chat at least once daily
  • since we were virtual, it was a little tricky to “sign” the agreement as it is a Word document so we used email approval and attached them to the Word document instead

Team Schedule

  • use the schedule templates provided by CPA and weekly instruction PDFs as your specific case or session will most likely have some different components than the sample schedules
  • our group agreed to re-assign tasks as needed when the time comes (especially the work for Part 2 & 3 of the report as it was difficult for us to decide during Week 1)
  • make sure administrative tasks are added to the schedule so there is no confusion or uneven allocation of work
    • for example, I was the designated person to create Zoom links every week and we decided to take turns taking minutes at meetings

Team Project Plan

  • my group had to do revisions for this component of Week #1 submission and I think it was due to us
    • not following the weekly instructions closely (missed a couple of headers)
    • not providing enough details for strategic options (e.g., what are the financial reporting/tax issues)
  • keep in mind that revisions are not the end of the world but it does take longer than if you had done it right the first time

Self-Assessment & Peer Assessment

  • self-assessment is pretty straightforward and it took only 10 minutes to complete (if not shorter)
  • for peer assessment, we were advised by one of the facilitators that we are not expected to create problems if there is not one
    • in another word, try your best to fill out as many fields as possible but you are not expected to fill out every box on the assessment (one behaviour to start, continue and stop for each person)

Part 1 of Capstone 1 Report

  • refer to Week #2 instructions and use the task list like a checklist for Part 1
  • refer to sample Part 1 reports (you should be given two) to determine the format and level of details
    • when there is a discrepancy between the sample report and Week #2 instructions, follow Week #2 instructions
  • discuss word and page limit early on with your group as it will help guide everyone on how much to write
    • the word limit is for the body of the report ONLY (1,500 words)
    • the page limit is for the appendices ONLY (10-page)
  • remember the focus of this part of the report is overall situational factors so it is the foundation for your analyses and recommendation later on
    • meaning you should not focus on any particular strategic option at this point
  • this will be a good time to decide on things like “present tense vs. past tense,” “$3 million vs. $3,000,000,” “they vs. us” and “Waste Disposal Inc vs. WDI”

What Tips Do I Have For Group Work?

As expected, my group consists of members of different working styles, background and expectations. There are several things we started doing or decided to do that I think helped with making week 1 & 2 as smooth as they could be:

  • having a meeting agenda helped us stay on track and keep the meetings productive (we met for ~1.5 hours on the weekend every week so far)
  • meeting minutes are not required but strongly encouraged so decisions and/or action items can be logged
  • do not be afraid to question another member’s suggestion politely
    • for example, someone else suggested meeting once more during the week but we were having trouble finding a time that would work for everybody so I suggested we not meet but commit to being available on a certain evening on Whatsapp instead
  • respect other people’s time because we are all working professionals
    • showing up to meetings on time and prepared
  • ask for help and remind everyone to ask for help if they need it
    • nothing is worse than finding out someone needed help last-minute
    • if possible, get your parts done earlier than the deadline so you can be available for your groupmate (who might do the same for you when you need it)

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