Team Task Analysis: Lost but Hopefully Not Forgotten

Team task analysis refers not only to an analysis of a team's tasks, but also to a comprehensive assessment of a team's teamwork requirements (i.e., knowledge, skill, ability, and attitude requirements). Like job analysis, team task analysis is important because it forms the foundation for team design, team performance measurement, and team training. Essentially, it is the building block for all "team" resource management functions. For example, in the airline industry, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has recommended that air carriers conduct a thorough team task analysis as the first step in redesigning pilot flight training. This new approach to training, referred to by the FAA as the Advanced Qualification Program (AQP), provides pilots with initial and continuing flight instruction in order to certify these individuals for flying specific aircraft. 

Unlike prior pilot training, AQP goes beyond the training of technical flying skills to include training and evaluation on specific teamwork skills. Furthermore, AQP requires that pilots train as crews as opposed to training as individuals. Such training is vital in the airline industry, where numerous examples of inadequate teamwork can be cited that have led to disastrous consequences (Helmreich & Foushee, 1993). In the context of the current example then, a team task analysis that produces both reliable and valid results is vital to ensure the efficacy of AQP training. However, there is currently little research on the effectiveness of various methodologies for analyzing teamwork, and questions remain regarding the generalizability of individual task analysis strategies to the team level.