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How to Have a Successful Group Project

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at U Mich chapter.

Ah, the dreaded group projects. Unfortunately, in many majors these projects become like a fact of life. Business students especially will have at least one group project at all times, and even up to four in some semesters. Each project is likely to be worth a large chunk of your grade, so it’s important that they go well. Here are some tips to help lead you to a successful group project experience!

  1. Accept that you probably won’t like everyone (but maybe you will!)

It’s simply a fact of life that you won’t get along with everyone you are forced to work with, whether in school or in your eventual job. You don’t need to become best friends with your project group, but you do need to be civil for the duration of your project. Maybe you’ll get lucky and get along with everyone in your group, which would make the whole thing much more fun!

  1. Vent to your parents or friends, not your group!

You will probably end up in a group where you feel as though you are doing all the work at some point. We’ve all been there. It probably won’t do any good to complain to your group, as this will alienate them and make the situation worse. Instead, remind yourself that in the end, this project is only temporary. Complain to your mom or your best friend instead!

  1. Don’t automatically try to take over

Before figuring out what role you are going to play in a group, take a second to read the group dynamics. If the project is on something you are interested in or a subject you want to have a career in, feel free to take the lead. However, don’t constantly try to be the boss in every group project. Sometimes another member is better at a subject than you, and that’s ok. It’s ok to sometimes be a leader, and it’s ok to sometimes just be the support system to the leader.

  1. Play to people’s strengths

Assign roles based on strengths! If someone is good at graphic design, put them in charge of making the powerpoint. If someone is good at presenting, have them take the lead on that. This doesn’t mean that these people are the only ones doing these tasks, just that they take the lead. 

  1. Try and have fun!

Sure, there will be some projects that just aren’t fun. If people truly aren’t contributing, it’s ok to let your professor know either in person or through a group evaluation. However, this process is a lot more fun when you get along with your group. This can be simple, like bonding over the crazy things your professor or classmates say on a regular basis. Being able to laugh while up working on a presentation or paper at 2 AM makes the whole thing a million times better!

Image: My Business Abroad 425 group, a successful group project. Pictured is the group and Chilean winery executives.