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Working in groups and teams

Group projects are a common feature of university study, although they hold their own particular challenges. As you know, working with others to achieve a goal is a reality of Business, but we have a few tips and tricks to get you through the process and succeed in your projects.

Group work or teamwork?

There is a big difference between working as a group and working as a team. A group is individual people who coordinate their individual efforts to achieve a goal. A team is a group of people with a shared goal who work together to achieve it.

You can make good progress in your group project by being either a group or a team, but a team can produce a better designed, thoughtful project and achieve more coordinated success together.

The good

  • You can achieve more as a team
  • You can build on a larger range of skills and knowledge
  • Having a wide range of opinions will make sure your project is considered from all sides and increase your critical thinking skills
  • You can develop your communication skills
  • You can develop your collaboration skills
  • You can practice academic discussion
  • It will help you self-reflect on how you work in a team; for example, whether you like to be in charge or if you are a good listener. This awareness will be beneficial in the workforce.

The bad

  • Conflict between members
  • Difficulty sticking to deadlines
  • Lack of planning
  • Unclear roles in the group
  • Limited communication
  • Dominant members of the team
  • Not enough discussion on topics and roles within the group
  • Unbalanced work distribution with some people doing more than others
  • Lack of delegation of tasks – everyone doing everything together will rarely work

 So, what should you do?

  • Spend time getting to know each other
  • Check that everyone has the same understanding of the assignment
  • Create a communication plan. Include how you will meet online and your main form of communication (e.g. Whatsapp, Facebook group)
  • Check that everyone understands the expectations of each other in the project
  • Ensure that everyone has been allocated tasks
  • Create a timeline for completed tasks, feedback, editing and submission
  • Set up and share a Google doc
  • Discuss and discuss guidelines for editing, review and feedback
  • Select editing teams and set up editing time frames