I just read the following tweet from a frustrated student;
Group projects: one person does all the work. Everyone takes credit.
Does this sound familiar?
In my 10 years of teaching at a graduate level (part-time) in a business school the most common area of complaint was with group work.
And as more and more work is done in groups it makes sense to unlock the full potential of each individual and the group itself.
Some of the issues were to do with the volume of group-work and the difficulty in organising meeting times.
But perhaps the biggest challenge was with uneven contribution of group members to the overall result.
What to do about it?
Here are some suggestions:
– Just accept that not everyone has the same level of motivation as you so do the best you can.
– Select your group based on (ideally) previous group experience.
Go with people that have high standards and contributed their work on time.
– Before the group starts, agree upon a process to address uneven contribution.
It usually is the big elephant in the room so tackle it early.
– Agree with each member ‘what’ they are expected to deliver but leave the ‘how’ to them.
Everyone has their own style and likes to express their individuality.
– Do it all yourself or with a trusted partner (always an option but can increase your workload).
– Ask group members that are not pulling their weight to leave. There is nothing like bringing things to a head to change behaviour.
– Use my Blitz tool (http://www.ideasblitz.com/) to rapidly generate new ideas and solutions.
The starting step with Blitz is that everyone works by themselves to generate 9 new ideas in 2 minutes.
This means that everyone must think for themselves and there is no one person or idea that dominates.
Group work can be a great learning experience but only if everyone contributes.
Using these suggestions will ensure that each of your group members feel more engaged and hence more productive.
Try some of these suggestions and let me know how you go.