Surviving Group Projects 101

Group projects are inevitable, whether it is for an assignment worth 20% of your grade in university or it's a project at your job. Either way, you're going to have to work with a group of individuals with different learning styles, different ideas, and different work ethics.

I've been a part of many groups both in school and in the workforce, and been a part of groups that have been successful...and not so much.

If you're incredibly lucky you'll be able to get through a group project without too many stressful days and nights, but if you're like most groups, there's bound to be something that goes awry.

What are the tips to (hopeful) success in a group project? Keep reading to find out!

 

Team Contract

Something that my university does with our service-learning projects is make us provide a team contract to our coordinators.

These contracts are signed by all team members outlining the expectations, meeting dates, workload due dates, method of communication, work quality, strategies to success, accountability, and consequences for not abiding by the contract.

From personal experience, I have found that contracts are the best way to ensure that group members all contribute equally and are aware of the consequences that will arise if they do not.

Be Inclusive

An important thing to remember is that some people feel more comfortable working alone and are intimidated working alongside others in a group setting.

Make sure that everyone in the group has a say in all aspects of the project; some people are more comfortable writing ideas down instead of discussing them verbally. A way to ensure all group members feel involved is to have everyone write down their ideas in a list and bring it to the meeting for one person to read out. This way everyone's thoughts and opinions are heard, and those that are comfortable speaking out can still do so.

 

Don't Leave The Project To The Last Minute

This goes hand-in-hand with the team contract; set a personal due date before the actual due date to ensure there is time for any last minute revisions.

I've been in a few group projects where someone decides to submit their parts an hour before the final project is due which leaves the other members scrambling to finalize it. Please don't be that group member.

 

Don't Leave Presentations To The Last Minute

This one should be a no-brainer, but sadly it isn't. It is so easy to tell which groups actually practised their presentations before hand and which ones practiced 10 minutes before the start of class. Again, don't be that group.

Make sure to practice who is standing where as well as the transitions between speakers. Figure out who is going to be clicking through the slides (if you don't have a clicker), and who will be switching with that person.

The more organized and professional your group looks, the better chance of you attaining a higher grade.

 

These are my few tips to success in a group project. I know there are many more out there, but upon thinking about it, I realized that these were my top four.

Leave any suggestions in the comments of how you have overcome the dreaded group project.