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EFFECTIVE GROUP PROJECTS Tips for surviving and succeeding with team assignments.

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Presentation on theme: "EFFECTIVE GROUP PROJECTS Tips for surviving and succeeding with team assignments."— Presentation transcript:

1 EFFECTIVE GROUP PROJECTS Tips for surviving and succeeding with team assignments

2 The Path to Group Success  Know your group.  Understand your assignment.  Organize your process.  Check your progress.  Combine your work effectively.

3 Know Your Group  If you can form your own group:  Get good people for the job. It’s not about friendship; it’s about teamwork for learning and for a grade.  Think about a group as a collection of skills. Do you have someone who can proofread? Who has computer skills? Who is a good organizer?  Consider schedules, locations and lives. Understand the challenges if you choose to work with someone who does not share the same schedule or live in the same city.  Exchange useful contact info. that actually reaches people.

4 Know Your Group  If your group is formed by your professor:  Get over it if your situation doesn’t seem perfect to you. The world of work is just like this. Spend your energy on figuring out how this group can succeed.  Find out what skills each person has.  Share information about schedules, location, and lives, so that you are aware of any challenges.  Exchange useful contact information that actually reaches people.

5 Understand the Assignment  Review the assignment together  You may want one person in the group to be the “Reader.” This person becomes an expert on the assignment requirements. What is the goal of the project (solve, recommend, instruct…)? Who is the audience for the project (classmates, professor, imaginary client…)? Are there specific content requirements (at least 3 sub- topics, limited to X field…)? Are there research & documentation requirements (at least 3 sources, APA documentation…)?

6 Organize Your Process  Work backwards to create a time line for your project and be sure everyone understands it.  Find out what people are good at.  Assign specific tasks and deadlines; agree on detailed expectations:  Example: Claudia will bring research results to the meeting on Mar. 9 th at 10am in E111. She will bring a typed list of exact quotations, along with their references in APA format, on a memory stick in Word format.

7 The Right People for the Job  Detail People:  Researchers Meticulous, speedy readers, and excellent Googlers; not afraid of learning how to use the databases in Mohawk’s e-Library. Can sort through lots of information to find relevant, useful, credible data Can be counted on to record the references as info is found NOTE: Procrastinators either shouldn’t do this job or should be aware that their delays will hold up the entire project.  Proofreaders Can obsess about spelling and grammar accurately. NOTE: If you don’t have one of these in your group, GET ONE. (Or… remember the Communications Centre, room C122 – help is available for this!)

8 The Right People for the Job  Big Picture People:  Information Management: Sees connections Can select useful data from a pile of research from different sources Can organize data logically with the overall goal in mind.  Editing: Sees things from the audience’s (and professor’s) point of view Can see what data needs to be added, cut or changed. What’s missing or repetitive? Can see the logical flow that the audience will experience: Is anything confusing? Is this argument logical?

9 The Right People for the Job  Big Picture + Detail People  Leader: Can organize and motivate people. Can see the overall progress and connections, and can notice when the details aren’t right.  Writing: Can take organized data and place it into the required format: paragraph form, PowerPoint slides, etc. Can create introductions, conclusions and transitions between sections of a report so that the whole thing flows seamlessly and logically.

10 Check Your Progress  Set regular meeting times, so that you can assess your progress.  Are you meeting your deadlines?  Does new information alter the direction of the project?  Is there information you just can’t find?  Refuse to cling to the plan that isn’t working or to the idea no one else wants.  Stay open to changing and improving as a team. Get help when you need it!

11 Check Your Progress  Handle problems immediately.  Contact the professor: with research problems about changes in the direction of the project. about what steps you are permitted to take if a group member is not doing his/her work.  Deal with group members directly: when someone is not meeting deadlines when someone’s work does not meet expectations  It is not the professor’s job to manage internal problems in your group! However, he/she is often a good source of advice.

12 Progress: Difficult Situations  Speak to the person with whom you have the problem! Talking to the wrong people will not help and will waste precious time.  Communicate the problem clearly, give the member an opportunity to correct the problem, and be clear about expectations and deadlines.  Be clear about what will happen if the problem is not corrected.

13 Integrate Your Efforts  The worst group projects look like individual efforts that were slapped together thoughtlessly.  Your project should look, sound and feel like a TEAM effort.  This requires time. Lots. Leave some.  Organization of content, fonts, slide backgrounds, report headings, documentation numbering, page numbering, labels for charts/tables… ALL of these must be coordinated, correct and consistent.

14 RECAP  Know your group  Get good people and assign the right jobs for their skills.  Understand your assignment.  Be clear about the goal/purpose, audience, and all other requirements.  Organize your process.  Make expectations clear for people, tasks, deadlines. Meet early and often.  Check your progress.  Know whether you are on track. Handle problems immediately. Be willing to change your direction if needed.  Combine your work effectively.  Be sure that the end product is coordinated, cohesive, correct and consistent!

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