Tips For Nailing A University Group Project
The current academic year is well underway and you may know by now that you will be tasked with things to do for your degree in a variety of ways, from assignments to projects to exams.
The majority of the time these assignments and projects will be completed individually, but occasionally a project is assigned that requires students to work in a group – team work makes the dream work as they say!
Lecturers may allow students to choose these groups but quite often they pick the groups themselves to encourage you to work with new people, that means you may find yourself working with your friends or with students you may not have spoken to before.
Whilst some people thrive whilst working within a team, others prefer to work alone and may find it a struggle to work with other people on their course.
If you’re someone who isn’t too fond of the idea of a university group project or you want to know how to ace your next team assignment, our 6 tips will help you and your group be successful and work well together.
Carry on reading to find out!
1. Rules & Guidelines
One of the main things to do before a university group project is started is setting out the rules and guidelines you all agree to.
The rules can be whatever you want them to be, whether that is setting out the amount of hours each member can contribute to the project and how often you get together to work on it or anyone who missed a meet up sends their part to everyone else to look over.
No matter what rules and guidelines are set up they should not only be fair but agreed to and able to be met by all team members.
This will set the tone for the rest of the project so think carefully about each member’s expectations.
2. Goals & Objectives
It is important to set out the goals and objectives of the project so everyone is moving in the same direction so all progress ends with the same result.
Without this, any progress will be slow as some members might have a different idea or interpretation or may be confused on what to do, making the group disorganised.
At the beginning of the project it is beneficial to set out the goal you want to achieve and the objectives you need to reach it – what tasks are needed to be completed to finish this project?
This can include a timetable for you to monitor progress on the project.
This will help the team know if anyone is behind on tasks, whether the group is speeding long ahead of schedule and how much of the project is completed at a given time.
Smaller, more immediate goals and objectives are also helpful for completing tasks required at each stage of the project.
Everyone in the group having a clear vision of the direction the project is heading in makes the team more efficient and results in a successful project.
Assigning roles for everyone in the group makes it clear what responsibilities each member has and makes the process much more effective.
It also means you can split the work in such a way that plays to each person’s strengths.
Your group will most likely be full of diverse people who can contribute in different ways so it is only beneficial to your project that you work with them.
Plus if everyone has their role to play, potential conflict can be avoided as everyone in the group has done their fair share of the work and there are no imbalances in the team.
Choosing the roles each person will have should be a group decision, however, don’t be afraid to volunteer to do the part you want to do the most or find the most interesting.
This helps improve group engagement and will have a positive impact on the project.
Having deadlines for each task or a deadline for when the whole university group project should be completed is important to keep the project on track and not rushed.
As a group for each task set out when you think it should be completed whilst giving leeway for any delays or issues that may arise.
You should also set a group deadline for when the project should be completed as a whole, because although you will have a timeframe set by your lecturers, it’s not good to leave workloads like this until the last minute.
Whilst some group members may be fine with doing all their contributions to the project on the last day, not everyone else will have the same idea!
So, make sure there is enough time between the completion of the project and hand in date for everyone to look over the work.
This ensures that any mistakes can be corrected and improvements required can be carried out.
Deadlines will ensure the smooth sailing of the project and will prevent any last minute mishaps.
5. Communicate & Review
One thing that is always said is there’s no I in TEAM!
Whilst everyone has their set of tasks and responsibility in the project it is a group effort, therefore communication is key for a project to be successful.
Set up meet-ups whether in person or virtually as frequently as necessary. This boosts morale as well as an opportunity for everyone to update on how far along they are on their tasks.
You don’t want your lecturer to check on the progress of your group project and discover that none of you have really spoken about your work, it won’t look good and quite often your graded on how well you worked as a team.
Plus by communicating effectively, it means that problems can be resolved quickly and efficiently so there are no long lasting effects that could affect the project.
In these meet-ups, reviewing progress and any work achieved helps keep the group stay focused and on track and is part of what makes an effective team.
Choose what technology you use wisely as this can influence how efficiently the project is put together.
Depending on what the project is and what it entails, a great way to put it together is by using shared documents.
Shared documents make group work easier as everyone has access to and can update the same document.
This means no one can lose a section of work, everyone can see what each member of the team has contributed and every member is included in the group.
It is also a good way for all members to review the document before handing the project in.
We hope you find these tips helpful and that your university group project is a success.
Remember, if you do encounter any issues when completing a team project, try and communicate about this to those you’re working with, and if that doesn’t help things, speak to your course director – they’re there to help!
If you would like some more tips and tricks then take a look at our blog on how to start using an academic diary to help with studying blog.
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