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Group Projects: How to Lead without Doing All of the Work

Let’s face it- group projects are something that we all dread. It can be difficult to align expectations, and ultimately responsibilities usually fall on just one or two group members. Rather than taking on the brunt of the work at the last minute, set your group up for success in seven quick steps.

  1. Create a Gantt Chart. A Gantt chart is a planning and goal-setting tool that will help you organize each of your project goals and assign tasks that must be completed along the way.

  2. Exchange contact information. All group members should be able to contact one another. Start your interaction as a group by stressing the importance of communication.

  3. Establish a preferred method of contact. For some groups this is establishing a group chat, or in others it may be an email thread. Whatever you choose, ensure that all team members agree to an optimal channel of communication that they will check.

  4. Set rules. Establish ground rules that each of your group members commit to prior to beginning any work. If you start by setting guidelines everyone must follow, it will be easier to reset expectations if team members are not abiding accordingly.

  5. Learn about everyone’s strengths and weaknesses. Before you begin working, discuss what all group members do well and struggle with. This will be helpful in delegating roles.

  6. Assign roles and check in regularly. Each team member should be assigned a role or task to complete. Ensure that progress is being made by having regular check-ins. This is where the Gantt chart comes in handy.

  7. Establish huddle time. Set aside time to work together as a team. Although it may be difficult to plan around everyone’s schedule, working together in one room will help you bounce ideas off of each other and make sure that everyone is on track. If you aren’t able to meet in person, establish a Google Doc so that you can all work on the project in the same space and at the same time.

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