What is a Group Project?
A group project is one of the methods teachers use for the class to produce a collaborative output. Unlike individual homework, a group project consists of multiple students contributing to the same work. The goal of the group project is for the members of the group project to work together in order to accomplish the same tasks. Because of this, if you are a student who prefers working alone, this can serve as a challenge, because:
- scheduling meetings with the whole can be difficult due to conflicts
- some groupmates may not contribute
- some groupmates don’t accept suggestions so you end up not contributing anything
- you just do not like working with other people at all
- one or your whole group might overshadow you during the presentation
These hurdles can happen to anyone and may have a negative impact on your grade. If you want to avoid these challenges and excel in your group project, do not worry—we’ve gathered a list of tips to succeed in a group project so that you can bask in the same glory as your peers!
1 - Take initiative
The initiative is both a skill and a value where you contribute to the group project, or to any assigned task, independently and without having to be asked. This skill is important in both academic and professional settings. Taking initiative is indeed similar to leadership. When working on a group project—whether it’s writing a lab report or making a PowerPoint Presentation—always be the first to discuss your group’s strategy and schedules, ideally before leaving the classroom. Taking initiative will help your group avoid procrastination.
Treat initiative as a skill and a value that you foster—such as critical thinking skills—and in the end, your group will succeed and be happy for your efforts.
2 - Communicate well with the group
Communication is key to the success of a group project. Firstly, it is the primary component of the cohesion of a team as it engages in group work. Without it, everyone will be confused and jumbled on what to do. Success in group work is derived, in large part, in constantly and actively communicating with your groupmates.
You can start by establishing communication lines with the group—a group chat on Messenger, WhatsApp, or whichever is the group’s preferred app. Use this to keep each member of the group updated on deadlines, new requirements, project concerns, and other emergencies related to the project.
This cannot be stressed enough. Proper communication will make your group project, while the lack of communication will break it.
3 - Set up offline meetings
As mentioned before, getting together in person to work on the group project can be difficult, especially when each member of the team is busy with other aspects of life, and the advent of communication apps makes meeting up in person for group work seem unnecessary.
That being said, ask yourself this question: “How much group work do you actually get done over texting or messaging?” Certainly, a notable amount of effort on the group project can be exerted and yield results when the members of a group communicate with each other remotely or online. But as far as productivity is concerned, you can find that you will not do as much online as you will do in person.
In-person discussions are always more in-depth and more productive than online ones. But working on your individual tasks together can also encourage you to focus and accomplish your tasks.
Coordinate with each other in figuring out the best date, time, and place for the group to meet up to work on the group project. While cafes and public libraries are good places to start, we highly recommend that you get together in the university itself because its atmosphere will get you in the mood to do group work. Look at our list of the best study spots on any campus to find the right one for you.
4 - Make the group’s goals clear
Clearly communicating goals with the team is important in keeping the team united, motivated, and productive. It’s easier to manage a goal and accomplish a group project when each member knows and understands your goal. That way, no one does something that does not align with the whole group’s goal. That would mean extra work for everyone else as they or the whole group will have to revise the erroneous part.
Similarly, if someone does not fully understand the group’s vision, they may be unmotivated to work or be confused as to how to accomplish their task. So, if you want to succeed in your group project, sit and discuss with your group what you want to accomplish and make sure that everyone is on the same page.
5 - Set roles for each member
It stands that every member assumes particular group project roles to maximize efficiency. Ideally, identify each member’s strengths and capitalize on those. Does someone have a better mastery of grammar? Let them edit and compile everyone’s work. Does someone have good public speaking skills? Let them lead your group presentation.
Working as a group does not mean that you should all do the same things. A better way of working together is to let each member do an aspect of the project that they do well so that each one contributes to the success of the group project in their own way.
If, however, you find that one of your groupmates is lost or unable to accomplish their task, do not hesitate to help them out. As long as you are not doing their task for them, helping your groupmate is always beneficial and would contribute to the success of your project.
6 - Set internal deadlines
It is a given fact that groups will work individually and then convene only every now and then. But every student has their own time management style and standards when working on projects. Often, telling each one to simply submit a day before the deadline spells disaster. Always give yourself, or the compiler, ample time to edit and finalize your work.
Written group work, especially tends to resemble Frankenstein’s monster when it is not integrated well. You would not want to submit work that is not cohesive—it’s unprofessional and will surely bring a lower grade.
Setting internal deadlines for the group will make group projects more manageable not just for the team leader but for each member. This will serve as a guideline for each one, too, so they can manage their time wisely. If you’re having difficulty incorporating group work into your schedule, try these time management tips for college students.
7 - Listen to everyone’s suggestions
One of the major problems faced by group projects is when someone feels alienated by the group or when one of the members dominates and becomes a pseudo-dictator. These are not conducive for group works as it will only serve to demotivate group members.
Being a team player indeed involves initiative, but you also need to give space for everyone else to speak and share their ideas. Listen and acknowledge the value of each member’s ideas. Remember that the goal of group work is for you to learn to collaborate, for students to combine their brainpower and skills to create something great.
8 - Bond with your groupmates
It is easy to see the group project as just a one-time thing. Hence, we tend to become stoic and uncaring about our groupmates and more on trying to accomplish the tasks for the group project at hand. While the group is, indeed, formed precisely for those tasks, there are other reasons why it is made: learning camaraderie and teamwork.
You might be wondering, “Why should I bond with my groupmates? The group project is just a one-time thing!” True, the group work is a one-time thing—if you let it be that. Remember, beyond being your groupmates, they are still your classmates. And however you perform in the group project, they will remember you for it, for better or worse.
You will find that you would want to be more productive if you are well acquainted with your groupmates. This is because you better realize the stakes of the group project: you fail or perform poorly, and you will all take a blow that may be fatal to your college life.
Surely, your professor did not just band you together just for a group work activity. They put you there to learn with each other, to not only experience the feeling of being in a company in lieu of finding your career path but also to appreciate the value of befriending one another in the face of common problems, namely in the group work.
9 - Motivate each other
One of the worst things that can happen to you in a group project is called the “bystander effect.” It is a phenomenon where multiple people fail to react properly to an accident, as they believe that one of them, not him-/herself, will be the one to act, given their large number. This can happen frequently in a group project, especially when you feel as though it is not your responsibility to act in the midst of your other groupmates who can do it instead. But you need to keep in mind that you and your groupmates are in this project together, so do not leave anyone behind.
10 - Trust and cherish your group
Taking control of the entire group project to the point that your other groupmates can barely contribute at all to the group work, too. While taking rein of the group project makes you feel like you are assuming the role of leader, in reality, you are not entrusting your group with being able to make a contribution to the group work, whether large or small. Group project roles become obsolete in the face of a “be all, end all” member. In the end, you will succeed in your group project, but not as a group.
The best tip to succeed in a group project? Trust and cherish the group that you are with.
Treating groupmates well not only helps you on how to reduce stress in college; it is not out of dumb luck that you ended up with the group that you are in for the group work. Each member possesses a unique characteristic or skill that may prove to be of some benefit to the group work in the long run, not only in the group project itself but even after it.
You and your current groupmates may never work together again in the same group project but they will always be part of your college life. So, cherish them for this chance, and trust that they will perform well in the group work.
Being a team player is an important characteristic that companies value in their potential talents. You would gain a lot of benefits when you learn to work well with others. It is a skill that you can learn. You can master becoming a team player while succeeding in your group projects with these tips.
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