No one likes group projects. When I say no one, I mean, not even the most nerdy, self-assured students ever. And you know what? It’s justified, because when people work in groups, things are bound to get sticky. Here are some things to keep in mind when choosing group members:
If your professor allows you to choose your own project members, be really careful with making this move. If you know your friend has three jobs, then this friend is probably a poor partner to work with, given that they have so much on their plate.
Figure out the best way to communicate
The group has been decided upon. There are many ways to communicate and together as a unit, it needs to be determined which ways work best for your group in particular. Emails, phone calls, Facebook groups, etc. are great, but Google Docs will be the most effective of them all.
Assign each group member tasks they will be responsible to complete. If you create occasional check-ins throughout the project, you will be able to make sure that every member is contributing – or not. These check-ins let the group unite share their findings and discuss any issues or ideas.
Take the lead
Don’t be afraid of stepping up and being the team leader. If you get stuck with a group full of slackers, this is the most precious opportunity to utilize your leadership skills and take control. This doesn’t mean having to be the person who does all the work, but rather making sure that everything gets done on time.
Give wiggle room in terms of time
Things happen: people get sick, documents accidentally get deleted, and group members can just plain and simply be irresponsible. For unexpected issues, set an earlier date than the actual due date for the project to be done by. By giving the team a few extra days before the real due date, all kinds of catastrophes and dilemmas can be dealt with in time.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help
Asking for help isn’t a weak move. It actually proves to professors that you care about the result of the project, and are willing to try alternative solutions to succeed. If your research hypothesis isn’t doing so great, or someone is not doing their share, have the courage to ask your professor for help with how to go about things.
Although time consuming and extremely stressful, group projects are beneficial for providing genuine examples of what your future career may entail. People aren’t always going to get along, and figuring out how to work together with people from all walks of life can be super beneficial to you, regardless of the career you choose.