Clarify Expectations at the Beginning of a Project
The best teams clarify expectations at the beginning of the project. This seems obvious, but it is amazing how teams, in their rush to get started on a project, spend too little time discussing and reaching consensus on team goals and priorities.
An estimated half of all the problems experienced on ineffective teams are due to misunderstanding or hidden disagreement on goals, priorities, strategies, deliverables, and deadlines.
Get To Know Each Other Before Starting
Self-introductions and a bit of socializing at the beginning of a project can help team effectiveness.
Friendly relationships, combined
with meeting group expectations for participation and effort, creates a shared sense of trust among team members. And shared trust is a critical ingredient in a highly effective team.
Define Tasks and Process Roles
In any kind of group project, there are two kinds of decisions you tend to make.
Some decisions involve the task, defining what you are
trying to accomplish. Others are process decisions, defining how you will work together to complete the assignment.
Stay Connected Throughout The Project
It is obvious that good communication among team members is important for team effectiveness.
While some teams end up wasting time by
over-communicating, more problems are caused by either under-communicating or by unbalanced patterns of interaction between team members.
Deal With Conflict Early
Most teams tend to avoid creating and dealing with group conflict, one of the biggest sources of stress and frustration for project teams.
But avoiding conflict tends to cause big problems later in the project – often right before the deadline when there is little time to resolve it. The most effective teams learn to deal with conflict early, recognizing that it is much easier to deal with conflict when it is small and inconsequential than when it becomes a major show-stopper to group success.
Put It All Together With A Clear Plan
Most teams tend to use a “divide and conquer” strategy in group projects; they break the project down into manageable chunks and assign individuals responsibility for specific parts of the assignment.
this can be a very efficient strategy, it does increase the challenge of integrating all of the individual contributions into a final, high quality product.
Avoid Doing Things At The Last Minute
One recurring message you will notice throughout The Group Project Survival Guide is that the best teams get work done early so they do not have to endure the panic, stress, and inevitable problems that arise from doing things at the last minute.