Working in groups and teams

Text Version

A guide to group work

Why work in a group or a team?

Develops excellent graduate attributes:

  • decision making and problem solving skills
  • project management and organisational skills
  • communication and conflict resolution skills.

The process

1. Build a strong foundation

  • Get to know your team.
  • Discuss strengths and weaknesses.
  • Meet early and set rules.
  • Agree on the aims, scope, and quality of the project.

2. Get organised

  • Decide on a method of group communication.
  • Agree on who will do what.
  • Set early deadlines.
  • Plan on how to present the project as a unified work.

3. Hold productive meetings

  • Make sure everyone knows the goal of the meeting, and what to bring.
  • Have a leader to keep the meeting on track.
  • Have a note-taker to record decisions.

4. Maintain relationships

  • Resolve problems as a group. Don't exclude others.
  • Address concerns as soon as they appear.
  • Renegotiate as needed.
  • Understand the other person's point of view.

Leadership

Means

  • helping the group work efficiently,
  • monitoring progress,
  • knowing when a team member needs help, and
  • keeping the group motivated.

Does NOT mean

  • doing all the work,
  • making decisions and telling others what to do, or
  • being solely responsible for the success or failure of the project.

Everyone is responsible for the success or failure of the project, not individual team members.

Difficulties

  • You can't work as quickly in a group as you can by yourself.
  • Group/team members may have conflicting ideas or viewpoints.
  • Group/team members may not contribute equally.

For successful group and team work

  • Be patient, demonstrate good communication skills and be committed.
  • Focus on the process rather than just the end product.