5 tips for doing team projects right

I’ve been quiet for a couple of weeks because I’ve been doing a big project class with our grad program. The project came out pretty well. See for yourself. 

It’s pretty intense – 18 days ago, they left for another country to collect content from people they had never met, and tomorrow, they present to an audience including professors, the other students doing similar projects and potential employers. 

Here’s some ways to make a team project great

Remember your goals. Make sure they are clear at the outset of the project and refer to them early and often. They are the benchmark by which you can measure your success.

Focus on working together. I am a huge proponent of a good group process. It doesn’t happen by itself – it has to be worked out at the start and nurtured throughout. If you don’t have it, your project can be weakend when team members are afraid to offer honest criticism. 

Think beyond your team. Projects usually happen for some kind of audience, even if it’s just the other students or professor in a class. Don’t just complete a project to satisfy heuristics. Make the effort to share with your audience and to incorporate feedback. 

Be gracious. In the course of the project, everyone will make mistakes, even you. Consciously assume that everyone wants to do a great job and treat them as if they want to. People do their best work when you assume they want to give their best.

Laugh a lot. Getting work done, especially on a tight schedule, is extremely stressful. Make the effort to find the joyful moments in the process and the team, highlight it and remember them. 

 

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