Regardless of your major, at some point in your college career you will have to participate in a group project. Although the saying "two heads are better than one" has some truth to it, there are still challenges to collaborative work. Here are some tips to help your team succeed.
- Planning ahead is key. As soon as you are assigned your group, share your schedules and assign specific meeting times.
- If your school has group meeting rooms, be sure to book a space ahead of time. Double-check that all members know when and where the group will be meeting.
- At your first meeting, clearly establish the roles and responsibilities for each group member. This will ensure that everyone remains accountable for your project.
- Be wary of power dynamics. A good group leader will help keep everyone on track and listen to everyone's ideas, without trying to take over all the work. If more than one person wants to lead, then assign a leader to each major task. This also gives a chance to use everyone's strengths.
- Consult with the rest of the group before deciding to make major changes to your project.
- Communication is incredibly important. Don't let problems stew. If they do arise, discuss them with the group rather than letting a small issue affect your grade, and perhaps even a potential friendship.
- Remember that everyone else has commitments too. If you or another member is suddenly too busy to be able to complete a task, ask for help. Just don't assume that someone else can do your parts for you.
- Avoid being a "free-loader." Make a genuine contribution to the project. There's nothing worse than a group member who does none of the work but receives the same grade as those who worked hard.