This module focuses on key tips and techniques for fostering a strong team dynamic early on in the course of a group project with the goal of building a solid foundation for all the work and stages that follow. You’ll learn to appreciate typical stages a group will go through and how to navigate these stages in ways that produce a successful outcome.
- Engage in self-reflection to identify your own strengths and weaknesses and to share what you bring (e.g., talents, skills) and what you want from the group work project, e.g. grade, skills building etc. Check out our Self-Reflective Team Communication Exercise to get started!
- Identify your availability and the time you have to contribute to the group project, considering the realities of time/work/family constraints. Check out Managing Time in University for time management tools
Tools & Templates
Understand Your Group
- Commit to building positive relationships with your group! Spend time getting to know your group members, so you can all work together as a team! Be open to diverse perspectives and backgrounds
- Share individual goals, strengths, and weaknesses without judgement. Discuss preferred work and communication styles to help you negotiate roles for the project (see the Planning the Project module)
- Agree on your group’s primary goals by discussing questions like these:
- What grade is everyone hoping for and what grade is acceptable or not?
- How much time and effort can each group member contribute?
- What time/work/family constraints does each group member face?
- Where do group members want to contribute based on strengths, interests or growth-oriented goals?
- Remember that we all hold assumptions and preconceptions. Review this Introduction to Unconscious Bias (Video) to build self-awareness and accountability
- Use our Group Inventory Tool to identify and share your goals, strengths, weaknesses, constraints etc. and to develop a group charter and ground rules
- Remember you are not alone! Your professor and your TA can offer help, clarity, and guidelines along the way
Tools & Templates
Develop a Group Charter
- Draw up a group charter (or contract) to establish a set of “rules” or “guidelines” to structure your group process and document your group’s way of approaching its work. Making Group Contracts provides details on what a group charter is and why professors ask groups to create one
- Include group contact information, project goals, roles, deliverables and deadlines
- Set ground rules to establish accountability and guidelines for how your group will work together. These define group expectations on behaviours and actions like communication, meetings and deadlines
- Agree on what constitutes breaking the rules (e.g. missed deadlines), and establish how your group will address non-performance
- Create a signatures spot for each group to signify their agreement with the charter. You can do this virtually with Google Docs, where each group member can type their name in the document