I'm in the business school.
Do you know what that means? Besides learning super interesting (and oh so useful) excel shortcuts and preparing for twenty page cases each week, it means that I get to be a part of FIVE groups!!!
And the BEST part? The projects aren't a "one and done" deal. We have assignments due every week and different cases, simulations, papers, etc.
Here's how to survive a group project:
1) If you get to choose your group, pick diverse people that you know and trust. Your group will come up with better ideas, and your project will turn out great. A little head butting is good– it gets things done and works out ideas.
2) If you don't get to choose your group, brace yourself for the worst, expect an okay group, and pray for a good one.
3) The minute you know who your group is, collect email address and exchange cell phone numbers. Also, friend them on Facebook. You'd be surprised how some people respond to messages rather than emails.
4) Set the tone EARLY. Some groups are more laid-back, while others are strictly business. There really isn't a "correct" group culture, but find one that fits the personality of the group.
5) Be the first person to send out an email and write down every available time you can meet. Other members will add their available times and eventually you'll get down to a two hour period that works.
6) Reach out to the professor.... only in emergencies. He doesn't want to babysit the group, but there are certain times when it's appropriate (e.g. a member is just MIA.... which is currently an issue in one of my groups)
7) Talk things out. It might seem like a time-saver to start typing the case/paper up right away, but you might miss key points (or the entire idea in general). Spend a little time going through each section of the rubric and each question and just talk it out as a group. THEN, go and type up bullet points. From there, delegate. Especially if the paper is long, there really is no choice but to divide the work up.
8) For presentations, if someone is shy, give them a small part. Honestly, when it comes to speaking in front of the class, don't worry about each member "pulling her weight." It seriously might be a huge deal for someone to just introduce the group and name of the project.
8 1/2) Make sure your Facebook pictures are set to private. Haha.. just kidding about this one, but seriously. I had major issues with two friends who decided to spend some time going through old pictures during a meeting.
9) GOOGLE. Not the search engine (that will just create major problems!!!). Google Docs = Group Lifesaver.
10) When in doubt, Keep Calm and Carry On..... or these (haha):
These, absolutely hilarious, posters can be purchased from Sad Little Crowns.