There’s always something we have a love and hate relationship with. For me, one of those things is group projects. There are so many advantages to them, however, they can be very challenging. The pros or cons could go in either favor, but it really depends on the situation, the people in the group, and what type of project you are working on. In general, in almost any career, collaboration among a group of people to achieve a task is essential in making something work. Building effective communication skills, listening to to others ideas, and sharing a common goal all help a project to be completed well and efficiently.
Group projects can be great when the individual parts that make up a group have a role, carry out their role, and input on areas where they can be helpful. When working together it can be hard to share ideas, but with communication, these issues can be worked out. The best groups are comprised of members who are just as willing to listen as they are to share their personal ideas. When everyone is actively involved, the process not only is completed more efficiently, but it allows the experience to be more enjoyable. In contrast to doing projects alone, group projects are beneficial in terms of being more creative. When we work alone, we may only consider approaching a problem in only one way. When working with others, ideas can be more than one-dimensional and presented so that it appeals to a broader perspective. For these reasons, working in a group can be extremely advantageous, and allow a greater end result when carried out well.
Collaborating with others can also be really challenging for a number of reasons. Sometimes in groups, people think that if they blend or hide in the background, they won’t be noticed. When they are not the only person accountable, they let a few people take the reigns and hope to just throw their name on the project at the end. While not all people like to take control of a situation, input from other members is still incredibly important. Additionally, with more contributing members, it can help to have members focus on a particular section thoroughly, rather than spread across different aspects. However, when members don’t contribute, sometimes it can feel like the extra amount of people can slow the process. On the other side, with too many people looking to take control of a project without the support from others, a “too many cooks in the kitchen” scenario can result.
Through my various experiences in projects in different areas of study, I have always tried to play on the advantages of being in a group. I have tried to always be an active member and carry out my roles the best I can. While a lot of people don’t put in as much effort in a project due to the deindividuation that occurs, I feel a greater responsible to carry out my role. When people are relying on you, it’s important to do the best you can because your work not only represents you, but it represents others. So at the end of the day, even when a group project is really frustrating, everyone is in it together.