MY TRICKS FOR GETTING THROUGH A GROUP PROJECT (AND GETTING A STELLAR END RESULT) I can honestly say that I have experienced both incredibly amazing and really awful group projects over the years, having had my fair share.
Even if you have all the people skills in the world, completing a collaborative project successfully (at least one that results in a high-quality final product) calls for much more than simply interacting with others.
You’re going to experience growing pains whether you’re a college student or a working adult. There will always be at least one occasion when a team member fails to complete their portion of the project, other occasions when technology fails, and if none of those things have occurred, then there is always the remote possibility that something else may go wrong.
So how can you complete a group project successfully while still producing a top-notch result? See my secrets down below!
A PRODUCTIVE BRAINSTORMING SESSION IS A GOOD PLACE TO BEGIN Allowing everyone to express their ideas and speak their minds is one of the keys to finishing a cooperative endeavor.
Although there’s a good probability that one of the group members will have the natural ability to lead and desire to take charge of the meeting, that person should still give the other members of the group an opportunity to voice their opinions and record them before taking full control of the project.
One method I’ve seen used to accomplish this is to have a group of people sit in a circle and either a) give each person a piece of paper or b) have a big sticky note on the wall where everyone’s thoughts may be recorded.
This brainstorming session demonstrates to all group members that their opinions are valued and taken into consideration.
I assure you that the last thing you want is for someone to feel resentment toward the group and fail to contribute because they felt left out of the first discussions.
If necessary, set a timer to indicate how long each speaker is allowed to talk to ensure that everyone has an equitable share of the limelight.
SET UP ROLES AND RECORD THEM (DESCRIPTIONS INCLUDED) Establishing responsibilities and ensuring sure everyone’s job description is clear and simple to follow are necessary for surviving a cooperative project.
After going over everyone’s roles, you ought to have a clear understanding of what is required of each team member.
For instance, if someone is in charge of taking notes, you may describe their job description as follows:
The person who takes notes at meetings is in charge of recording all pertinent information. Within 24 hours following the meeting’s conclusion, they will then email this information to every group member.
Having a spokesperson for the group or someone who assumes leadership responsibilities is beneficial. This individual will probably be the one that checks in with the rest of the group to make sure things are getting done on time, so I advise them to be organized and good at keeping track of deadlines.
Other positions to think about are:
Designer of timekeepers (i.e. for PowerPoints or other graphic elements)
SET DEADLINES AND CREATE A REGULAR MEETING SCHEDULE I can’t even begin to express how crucial setting up a meeting schedule is for getting through a group assignment.
There will always be schedule issues and other issues to work around when you have a meeting with numerous people.
Everyone should bring their planners or calendars so that future meetings may be scheduled and expectations can be established from the start. All deadlines should also be set so that everyone in the group is aware of what has to be done and by when.
Plan to finish the project one week before it is due, if at all possible. You might or might not be able to finish all the necessary work one week before the due date, depending on how much time you have before that date.
If you are able to accomplish this, I urge you to do so since it will give your team time to review the finished product and determine whether any changes are necessary.
When time was short, I recall that my group had to submit a poster with little opportunity for revision. Even though we had accurate information, when we submitted it, I found a few mistakes. Without a doubt, those would have been fixed if we had allowed enough time for modifications in advance.
IF YOU MUST MAKE A GROUP PRESENTATION, PRACTICE TOGETHER FIRST Many group projects call for at least one, if not all, of the participants to be present for the results.
If you’ve been informed that you’ll all be giving presentations, you must practice together before giving your important speech.
In previous group projects, my colleagues and I spent time going over the materials to determine precisely what we wanted to discuss. We individually took ownership of a few of those concepts after writing down all of our primary talking points.
From there, we individually elaborated on those concepts to fill a predetermined length of time. I would run a timer as I practiced my section in front of a mirror or aloud so that I could keep track of how much time I was consuming.
My coworkers and I practiced as a group a few times once everyone had a chance to do so to make sure we had worked out the details of how the transitions would appear and who would be in charge of clicking through the slides.
THE KEY TO SUCCESS IN A GROUP PROJECT IS SURVIVAL I’ve discovered that having a plan from the beginning and adhering to it is the secret to getting through a collaborative assignment successfully.
Yes, there will be instances when you and your group members will disagree. That is typical!
But it’s not typical to let the conflicts sidetrack you to the point where you miss deadlines and fall short of expectations because your ego got in the way.
Don’t be scared to put in place a procedure for managing conflicts among group members. Make it a point to develop open communication from the start. Although it might seem excessive, the group project process will go more smoothly if you put additional precautions in place from the beginning.
Do you have advice for surviving a collaborative project or a tale you’d like to share? Please share them in the comments section.
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