Study Skills: Team Work Skills for Group Projects

In a perfect world, group projects would be no problem.

There would be no conflict, no slacking, everyone would contribute and things would run smoothly according to schedule. Yeah right… in a perfect world.

Group projects breed terror in most students’ hearts. “Anything but group projects,” we plead. “I’ll work extra hard and do it myself but please don’t make me have to work in a group.”

The reality is that you can’t get away from group projects in university or college. So what’s a student to do?

Here’s what some students had to say about surviving and thriving in your group work:

  • “For starters, make a team charter,” says Becky, a British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT) Financial Management student.Before you even start working on your project, sit down with your teammates and create a charter that encompasses things like:
    • the goals and objectives of the group;
    • how you will allow each person to equally communicate their views (clear communication is key in successful group work!);
    • information on when and where your group is going to meet on a regular basis, and contact information for each group member;
    • a “kick-out” clause, clearly stating what will happen if people do not show up for the meetings or don’t do their work;
    • and how you will resolve conflict should it arise.
  • Exercising flexibility will make a difference. “Being patient is huge. Don’t take things so personally when people shoot your ideas down,” Ying from University of British Columbia says.BCIT Refrigerator Repair student Sarah adds, “Listen to people -don’t always think that you are the only one who is right.”"Compromising is key,” agrees Breanne from Trinity Western University. “But make sure you don’t do all the work yourself.”
  • Determine strengths and work with them. First, figure out what needs to be done on the project. Then assign each person in your group a responsibility according to their abilities.Vic, a Business student from University College of the Fraser Valley believes it’s important and helpful to find out what people are good at and then assign roles accordingly.For example, someone who is good at writing reports, but hates research should not be stuck doing all the research. Allow each person to develop his or her abilities within your group.
  • Set deadlines for each group member to get their assignments done by. This establishes clear boundaries and helps to prevent stress caused by leaving everything to the last minute.
  • Take the lead if needed. So what if you get stuck in a group with a couple slackers in it who really don’t care about how the project goes?”Become the group leader,” says Rose, a Business Management student at BCIT. By taking leadership, you will get the chance to expand your leadership capabilities and also ensure that work gets done.And what if your other group members have nothing to contribute?”Usually everyone has something to say,” Rose says, “But if group member aren’t responding, encourage them to contribute by asking them directly by name for their ideas.”
  • Finally, stay positive about your group. Refrain from gossiping about other members and try to help one another as much as you can. After all, who knows? You may even come out of the experience with a friend or two.

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11 thoughts on “Study Skills: Team Work Skills for Group Projects

  1. J Patrick

    Kristen, enjoyed very much the section about the “team charter” especially the portion about the “kick out clause”. A team, like a chain, is only as strong as its’ weakest link and a certain amount of pruning may be necessary to achieve the proper team chemistry. I think you are right. With the kick out clause in place though, maybe you are actually motivating the weaker links to raise their game so they can stay with the team.

  2. B. MillerBrenda

    Thank you for this article, Kristen; you shared some excellent ideas that I believe will be really helpful for those working in a group. I remember not liking group projects myself, and I agree with J Patrick that the “kick out clause” may be necessary for those who refuse to participate and share in the projects. Hopefully, through the use of the other tips in your article, everyone will be able to take part successfully with no one having to be evicted from a group! I pray that all who are doing group projects can gain from wisdom such as yours. God bless you, Kristen.

  3. Doris BeckDoris

    Glad you enjoyed the article Max and thanks for sharing the article…we are never too old to learn to work together!

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  6. ShelleyShelley

    Thanks for the article on this subject. I pray that all who read it will be encouraged by it and respond to it in Jesus Mighty name amen

  7. Laurie

    I’m 13 and have Asperger’s. I’ve been having a hard time with group projects but I think this site will help me a lot.

  8. Barbara AlpertBarbara Alpert

    Hi Laurie, glad that this article on group projects was of help to you. Perhaps the next time you are faced with another group project you can share this article with the rest of the group. It just may benefit them too.

  9. Pingback: How to get through your next group project - CengageBrainiac

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