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Group work

Keeping on track

However often you meet, your group needs to ensure that the time spent together is productive. Here are some ideas for making your meetings worthwhile:

  • Before each meeting, make sure that your group has an agenda; this is just a list of things to discuss and work on during the meeting. It is a good way to make sure that your meeting stays on track and on topic.
  • Make sure that everyone is able to give individual progress updates.
  • Share your ideas, worries and progress equally, rather than letting one individual dominate.
  • Be flexible with others, and focus on tasks rather than individuals. Some tasks may be more difficult to achieve than others, so be prepared to share your skills and experience to get the job done.
  • Don’t make assumptions about what others have done or will do.
  • Don’t just take notes from your meetings, think about sharing photos, documents etc in a shared online space which everyone can use. There are lots of apps and software that you could use for this. The University One Drive service might be a good place to start.
  • Summarise what you’ve all agreed to do at the end of each meeting, and make sure that everyone has a copy of the action points.

If you can’t attend a meeting for any reason, then make sure that you know what was decided, and whether you need to pick up any work before the next meeting. You can still participate even if you haven’t been present.

Our Working with others guide (PDF) will also help you to successfully collaborate.

Reviewing progress

At the halfway point, it’s a good idea to review the group’s progress against the task. Is your group on track to complete the work, or has the schedule slipped? If you find that the work is behind schedule:

  • Identify sticking points and how to resolve them.
  • Be prepared to take a more active role in tasks that you might not have been involved in up to this point.
  • Ensure that everyone knows and agrees on the revised schedule or work plan, and knows what they are responsible for.
  • Make a list of any questions that you need to resolve with your tutor; getting confusions cleared up as quickly as possible is more likely to lead to a successful outcome.