I am a part of a development team of 16 people split into 4 diciplines of varying sizes.

We are a few weeks into production and we have yet to decide on a team name. We have a few contestants but when it comes to voting the winning result barely wins by majority with ~8 votes. We can't seem to come to a general consensus.

This is a name that we're going to carry with us for a longer period of time and is going to be our face outwards when we exhibit our work at convensions. The group takes the name fairly seriously.

A lot of tactical vote-manipulation also took place. Group members who really wants a particular group name to win tries to recruit the neutral opinioned group members to their side. Other group members who wants an unpopular name to win decides to vote on the most popular option instead because "the name i want wont win anyways". The whole situation got very tense and uncomftable.

What is the best course of action to take in this situation as a group? Should we just not care about the group name and move on or is there a way to make everyone happier with the end result?

Note: This is a group created in a university setting and we must have a group name.

  • Is this on an actual Workplace or is some University project? If it is the latter please clarify how this can be on topic to TWP... also if I may comment, I think you are over complicating this whole name selection. If there are X equally good names you can't decide on why not select it randomly? – DarkCygnus Sep 28 '18 at 21:35
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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it's about a university project, not the workplace. In a workplace, this kind of dispute would be handled by the manager of the team and/or the marketing department. – Philip Kendall Sep 28 '18 at 21:51
  • most democratic problems are solved by bribery. threats or fooling the voters – Kilisi Sep 29 '18 at 6:04
  • @JoeStrazzere if some idiot wanted to call the team "The Stoned Every Night Club", then I certainly wouldn't want to be associated with that. – Philip Kendall Sep 29 '18 at 10:05
  • Is this the only thing where people are having different opinions? Because in that case, you might want to update the question title to just refer to the team name. – Erik Sep 30 '18 at 8:27

What is the best course of action to take in this situation as a group? Should we just not care about the group name and move on or is there a way to make everyone happier with the end result?

If it's important to enough people that they feel happy about the team name, you should consider a ranked voting system. See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ranked_voting

Ranked voting systems in general tend to make folks feel better about the outcome among many choices. While individuals might not get their first choice, they may get their second or third choice.

Of course you first need to get folks to agree on the process. Since you are having difficulties so far, that may be a challenge. But it's probably worth a shot.

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Teams have a life cycle. Forming, Storming, Norming and Performing.

You can't skip stages. It seems like you have begun storming. Would it matter if you chose a name and moved on to the next issue? No, that issue would probably be just as contentious.

It sounds like you wish to be a moderator of sorts. That's good, a team needs one. Make sure everyone is heard and no one is left out. Build an environment of trust.

When you finally succeed passing a name, congratulate everyone for being engaged and make everyone feel comfortable with the choice.

tl;dr focus on the team and process and not on the outcome.

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Having recently gone through the process of picking a team name, here's what we did:

  1. Come up with a list of suggestions.
  2. Discuss these suggestions - this already eliminates some ideas and introduces others.
  3. Give every team member a small number of votes that they can distribute as they like.

Depending on the resulting list there could already be a clear winner. However, given what you describe you probably need another voting round among just the most popular names. It's important before this final voting round that everyone agrees to accept the winning name. If there are good reasons against one of the names, this is the last chance to bring them up.

That said, if there's still no clear winner at that point, maybe the suggested names just aren't good enough, and you might have to go back to step 1.

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