For college students, group projects are a common assigned task in many classes throughout one’s undergraduate career. While we like to joke that the above photo is true, sometimes it can turn into the reality if a group project is not taken seriously. The raw truth of the matter is this: group projects also exist in real life, in our future careers.
There, I said it! What the professors say is true. That being said, here are some tips to help ensure your group project due at the end of the term (that I know you have procrastinated until now) will be a swimming success!
1.Figure out the best means of communication.
Based on who you are working with, you need to decide what is going to be your primary means of communication throughout the remainder of the project. With so many different channels of communication (emails, text messages, instant messaging, phone calls, Facebook groups), it is important to figure out which method works best for everyone.
2. Set check-ins and deadlines.
Setting multiple deadlines before the entire project is due helps to break down the tasks into more tangible action items. This also allows the work of the project to be split up among all of the team members. When assigning action items to team members, consider also assigning a secondary team member to help with that task. The secondary team member will also be responsible for making sure it is completed in a timely manner if for some reason the primary team member falls ill, has a family emergency, or decides to drop out mid-way through the project. Don’t forget to check-in with members of the group in between deadlines to make sure everyone is on the same page and everyone’s questions are answered.
3. Take the lead.
Anyone can be a leader. Don’t be afraid to step up to the challenge of doing your share of the group project and help coordinate dates/times for everyone to meet to work on the project together. They key to being successful in the leadership position is to follow up. If you say you will do something, make sure it happens. That will build your credibility and keep the team dynamics more positive.
4. Don’t be afraid to ask your professor for help.
Asking for help does not make you look unprepared, not knowledgeable, or silly. On the contrary, asking your professor for help on a project shows that you are dedicated to doing the best work possible. It can also help clarify the overall goals and expectations for the final project. Professors want you to do well, so asking them how you can do well and then doing what they say can only help your group.
5. Stay positive.
Group project take a lot of time, energy, and can cause stress. During the more difficult times, focus on the positive aspects of the project. This is something that you can discuss with a prospective employer during a job interview about a time that you worked in a team. Additionally, you are getting to bond with others in your class. Keep in mind, the people you are going to school with are going to be the future professionals in your field- always leave a good impression.
Group projects don’t have to be scary or stressful; they can be conquered through effective communication, tackling big projects in smaller steps, taking the lead on various parts of a project, asking for help when you need it, and staying positive throughout the entire process.
Good luck finishing up those group projects!