UPDATED 12/5/09 – Scroll to end to see update. [Originally published on 9/2/09]

Working Together Teamwork Puzzle Concept by lumaxart.

“Oh, no . . . you mean we have to work in GROUPS in this class?” Though my PR Research students didn’t lament this out loud, I wondered how many of them dreaded the thought of ever working in a group project in a class. I bet many of them did (or do).

In today’s PR Research class, we collaborated, using Google Docs, on tips for how to survive a group project. Here’s a summary of what our class recommended:

  1. Communicate regularly
    • Mass messages….so all are on the same page
    • Praise often; it will motivate the team to work harder to achieve a common goal
    • Summarize at the end of each team meeting to ensure that each person leaves the meeting knowing what’s expected before the next meeting.
    • Send out a weekly update (with what’s been accomplished and what’s left to do)
    • Communicate as a whole, by using group text messages
    • Form a Facebook group
  2. Ensure that you’re aiming to achieve the same goals
  3. Manage your time.
    • Consider making a group calendar filled with internal deadlines that you set for yourselves. (Google Calendar might work well for this.)
    • Show up on time for group meetings (let people know if you’re running late)
  4. Meet regularly, even it’s only to touch base and confirm you’re where you should be in your project work.
  5. Delegate task based on strong points, and make sure you complete what is delegated to you
  6. Remember the platinum rule: Do unto others as they want done unto them
    • Be considerate of others
    • Be patient with your group members
    • Be flexibile
    • Have a good attitude
    • Be respectful
    • Work together
    • Contributing the same amount of work and time

Finally, before you begin working together in earnest, make an inventory of the skills of each group member. Also find out what each person would rather NOT do, if given the choice. This will help you divvy up the work more effectively. And exchange cellphone numbers, e-mail addresses, Twitter usernames . . . whatever will help you stay in touch effectively.

UPDATE: Ensure that every member of the group thoroughly reviews the entire project before submitting it. (And reviewing is more than simple proofreading.) You don’t want any unpleasant surprises based on information that was primarily written by another group member.

What other tips do you have for working together successfully in teams?


 

20 Responses to Survive, and Maybe Even Thrive, in a Group Project

  1. Marki Conway says:

    Great post! I’m wrapping up a group project for my PR research class at Syracuse University right now. We’ve worked efficiently together, but I’m sure some of these tips would have made us even more efficient.

    Here’s one tip I found helpful throughout the semester. Groups should try to change things up a bit with their meeting atmosphere. Instead of always meeting in the library or classroom, we’d head to a sandwich shop, or a Starbucks, and one time we even went out for Thai food. It creates a friendly atmosphere. We were social when we got there, but then we got down to business and got things done. It was great for bonding as a group and it worked really well for us!

  2. […] 2009-12-05T04:51:37  Just updated my blog post "Survive, & Maybe Even Thrive, in Group Projects" – [link to post] […]

  3. […] Public Relations Matters » Blog Archive » Survive, and Maybe Even Thrive, in a Group Project […]

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  6. […] 2009-09-30T09:33:31  RT @KiddGroup: Great advice for anyone RT @BarbaraNixon: Students: Working on a group project? Perhaps these will help: [link to post] […]

  7. […] 2009-09-30T08:34:08  RT @BarbaraNixon Students: Working on a group/team project? Perhaps these tips will help: [link to post] […]

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  10. […] 2009-09-30T08:32:41  RT @BarbaraNixon: Students: Working on a group/team project? Perhaps these tips will help: [link to post] […]

  11. […] 2009-09-30T08:31:23  RT @BarbaraNixon: Students: Working on a group/team project? Perhaps these tips will help: [link to post] […]

  12. Hi – good article!

    It’s not just “shyer” students who might be less forthcoming at meetings – don’t confuse shyness and introversion! It’s perfectly possible to be a shy extravert or a non-shy introvert.

    S

    PS: What IS the opposite of shy, anyway!?!!? :)

  13. […] 2009-09-30T08:11:04  Great advice for anyone RT @BarbaraNixon: Students: Working on a group project? Perhaps these tips will help: [link to post] […]

  14. […] RT @BarbaraNixon: Students working on a group/team project? Perhaps these tips will help: [link to post] ->good for co-workers, […]

  15. […] 2009-09-30T07:55:54  Students: Working on a group/team project? Perhaps these tips will help: [link to post] […]

  16. Barbara-

    Kudos; seems like we are on the same plain . . .

    How will you account for those who are on the shyer side and have goals that they are not comfortable mentioning, or even have trouble articulating (even to themselves) in the first place?

    Jeffrey

  17. Jeffrey

    Thanks so much for your thoughts. I struggled with calling it a group project myself . . . it seems that I was about the only one around calling it a “team project,” so I succumbed to peer pressure.

    We had a great discussion today about what the goals were. Some people might be in the class aiming to get the requisite C that they need to have the class count toward graduation. Others reach high and aim for an A in this class. I encouraged them to have a frank discussion with each other about what their goals were.

    Complementing each others strengths is a must for success without (many) tears. Knowing what each others’ strengths are first is a prerequisite; it was amazing to see how they reacted when I had them do this before diving into the “real” project work.

    We’ll see where this leads.

    Barbara

  18. Great tips for group work!

    2 things come to my mind immediately (all of the following is from my experience and my perspective, of course!):

    1. The term “group” connotes a group of people together in the same place, which is not what I think you are aiming for. I have gradually been removing this term from my classes, and replacing it with “team,” which connotes the people in the group reaching for the same goals.

    2. Of all the issues you listed above, the most important one with the most assumptions and least explored is #2 above, “Ensure that you’re aiming to achieve the same goals.” If one thing I can nearly guarantee (and bet the bank in Vegas), is that this is not the case. As a matter of fact, there is often an assumption that all people in a group have the same goal, and this is often not discussed because of this flawed assumption. Some want to learn, some want to please you, some want to get finished, some want to be better than the others, some want to lead, some want to do the minimal needed, and countless more perspectives. I encourage you to encourage your students to explore this, recognize that there are differences and different perspectives, though as a group they need to acknowledge these and then move on and through them. We may have different goals, though we can still complement one another and work toward a shared goal (which is about the best we can hope for), which should be articulated and bought into. Using our business language, we all have different WIIFMs, though if we articulate them and then decide we can still help one another to achieve them in relationship to the class, then bonus to all of them!

    It would be interesting to get their perspectives on this . . .

    Jeffrey

  19. […] 2009-09-02T17:08:59  [Blog]: Survive, and Maybe Even Thrive, in a Group Project [link to post] […]

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