5 Ways to Succeed at Group Projects

February 19, 2019
Posted in Student Tips
February 19, 2019 ACS

You could say that there are two types of people in the world: Those who love group projects, and those who dread them. If you fall into that second category, maybe it’s because you’re introverted and prefer to work alone. Or, perhaps you’re tired of getting stuck with the bulk of the work, while everyone else seems to goof off.

Whatever your reason, we hear you. Lots of people dislike group projects, but luckily there are ways to make the experience more tolerable – and successful!

Propose a communication plan. With a seemingly endless array of options, technology can sometimes make communication more confusing rather than less! Your first step when forming a group should be to agree on a method of communication. Will it be group emails, a group chat, in-person meetings only, or something else? Decide upon one method and stick with it, so no one is left in the dark.

Back up live meetings. Ideally, you can identify meeting times and places that work for everyone. But if scheduling conflicts get in the way, make sure someone records the meeting thoroughly and shares with absent members. If location is the main problem, setting up a live stream video can provide the solution.

Identify each member’s role. Sometimes group projects can get confusing, because one “leader” manages almost everything and the rest of the team gets lost in the shuffle. On Day One, identify each member’s strengths and interests, and assign roles. Map out clear deadlines for each contribution, too (and remember to “pad” the deadlines a bit, just in case someone gets behind schedule).

Identify a coordinator. One group member (someone with excellent organizational skills) should be identified as the coordinator. This person keeps track of all deadlines, sends out reminders to each member of the group, and collects each contribution to be assembled into the final project.

Switch your mindset. With most of your course work, you work independently. You are in charge of every task, and the final outcome. Remember to switch your mindset when working in a group, and view yourself as a cog in a machine instead. It can be frustrating to have less control over the final result of a project, but there’s an upside: You’re just responsible for one part of it. Focus on that part, and communicate clearly with team members. When each person does their part, the end result will work out in your favor.



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