Group projects- you either love or hate them. In college, group projects are inevitable and more often than not, you’ll be assigned to work with a team of students you don’t know for the entire semester. I’ve had good and bad experiences with group projects over the years, but coming to college has actually made me embrace them. So far, I’ve worked on great teams where everyone brings their “A” game.

After graduating college, you will probably never again work by yourself, so teamwork skills are vital for post-graduate success. Here are some of my tips for creating a successful team!

Create a team compact: From the get-go, come up with a compact of guidelines that your team feels they can realistically follow throughout the project/semester. This helps keep everyone on task and accountable for their actions. If a problem arises, no one can deny that they didn’t know the rules. For example, if you attend a meeting fifteen minutes late, you will have to buy your entire team Starbucks.

Outline achievable goals: Everyone needs to be on the same page. Make a list of long and short-term goals that will help inspire and encourage you to power through those sleepless nights. Be sure to make goals realistic and attainable. A short-term goal could be to improve the PowerPoint slides by next week while a long-term goal could be to reach a grade above the class average on the final presentation.

Assign roles to every group member: Some of the best teams I’ve worked on have delegated roles that play up to a person’s strengths. If someone is good at visuals, have that person be in charge of making diagrams and charts. If another person is good at writing, have them edit the paper. Assigning roles helps with time management and ensures everyone is  “pulling their weight”.

Keep lines of communication open: Make Facebook group chats or group text messages so everyone can stay up to date on any changes. I suggest even including a rule in the team compact that everyone should respond within 12 hours of a group message. If you have a group that is bad at responding, I also recommend Facebook chats because you can also see who has viewed (or ignored) your message. If they continually fail to reply, you can hold them accountable with the team compact.

Celebrate small victories: As a group there will be bumps along the way. Celebrate your ability to overcome these obstacles by celebrating little victories. Send everyone a positive text if you stayed up all night to fix a problem or send inspirational quotes if a member is struggling. Positive vibes will help keep everyone motivated and feeling valued.

Be open to criticism: As a type A, I know it can be hard to accept criticism when you try to be unattainably perfect. Take constructive criticism with an open mind and heart.  Whether it is a teammate, TA, or professor, constructive criticism is meant to help you grow and reach high standards of work you are capable of achieving.

By: Tia- Big City Tyro

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