The majority of high school and college students hate group projects. Especially the ones where each student on a team receives the same grade in spite of their participation in the group effort. It happens when most students don’t take the project seriously and put all the work upon one or two other members of the team.
With these seven tips, group projects no longer need to be something to stress out about or hastily throw together the night before it’s due.
1. Get to Know Each Other
Even if your class is comparatively small and you meet your peers at every class session, you might not really know them. Introduce yourself, exchange numbers and email addresses so that you can get a hold of each other while working on individual tasks. Although this step seems obvious, it is often skipped and people don’t know how to interact with each other.
2. Clarify Expectations and Roles
Every group needs a leader. Without someone to hold the group responsible for the project requirements, the project will never get anywhere. If nobody steps up and takes charge, you may need to take this position. Once the leader is assigned, it’s necessary to identify clear expectations for the project, delegate tasks to each individual, figure out the meeting time, and overall ensure that the quality of the project is up to standard.
3. Be Open to Different Ideas
Everyone has their strengths and weaknesses. If the project calls for creativity, don’t reproach the peer who is more prone to convergent thinking. Find a middle ground that all team members can agree upon and work from there. If you want everyone in your group to feel appreciated, the best way to do that is to openly listen to each point of view.
4. Create a Plan
It’s never a good idea to just dive into a project and expect that everyone understands what to do and when to do it. Even after you have delegated tasks to each team member, create a solid plan describing particular items assigned to every person and when those tasks should be completed. Don’t forget to schedule regular group meetings to assure everyone is moving in the same direction.
5. Communicate with each other
There are many ways to communicate and, as a team, it needs to be defined which ways work best for your specific group. Emails, phone calls, Facebook groups and Tweets are all great, but it’s highly recommended to use Gmail and Google Docs to work effectively. In addition to it, there is a myriad of task management apps that can help you not only survive but conquer group projects.
6. Don’t Procrastinate
It’s also important not to put off your tasks until the last minute. You will only create excessive stress for yourself and perhaps put your team grade at risk. Tackle assignments early, giving yourself plenty of time to ask questions or make changes, if it’s necessary. If everyone stays on task, you will be more confident in your final product and might actually have fun during your presentation.
7. Stay Positive
Group projects can be stressful at times, but they are not going away anytime soon. Try to stay positive when working in your group. Your optimistic attitude will rub off on your team members, and it will help in making the atmosphere all the more auspicious, and hopefully ease any tension.