5 group project probs and how to solve them


Collaboration can be super cool (you get to split the work and have a blast brainstorming, too). But if you don’t jibe with the person you’re paired up with, the project can totally tank. Here’s how to handle all kinds of problem partners so you can ace every group assignment.

Whether she’s talking over you, getting in the last word at every meeting or proposing “better” ways of doing things, one thing is for sure: It’s her way or no way.
SOLVE IT: There’s a chance she doesn’t realize how controlling she’s being. Subtly let her know by saying something like, “I appreciate your comments, but I’d like to contribute my own ideas, too.” And if that doesn’t work? Deal with it until the project is complete. Bickering will just add to the tension—which may affect your grade.

This girl goes way above and beyond—and she expects you to do the same. You like extra credit, but you’re not about to stay up all night for a few measly bonus points.
SOLVE IT: Gently put your foot down by saying no when she asks you to come over to whip up a last-second diorama. For whatever reason, she may be feeling a little insecure about her grade, so reassure her that the work you’ve done already is awesome and you should be all set. And if she doesn’t listen? Let her do that extra credit project!

Showing up late, quitting early and zero opinion on the big decisions—this girl is bringin’ down the whole team.

SOLVE IT: Your partner may be acting lazy, but on the inside, she might be intimidated by the group setting. Figure out her strengths and use ’em to motivate her to step up to the plate. Maybe she just needs a challenge and a little encouragement. Give her both and see where it takes ya.

This girl’s totally on board with everything— until she starts second-guessing all of the ideas you’ve come up with together (including her own). Nothing like waiting ’til the last minute to re-do the entire project....
SOLVE IT: Before you scrap your hard work, have her explain why she wants to make the changes, then try to compromise. Yes, maybe that section on Shakespeare in your English lit presentation is a tad weak and could stand a revise. Figure out how much time you have to work on one change and do it. Hopefully, that’ll put her at ease until it’s time to turn everything in.

You had the brilliant idea of turning your pre-calc project into a game show. But then your partner slammed it. In fact, she’s had something negative to say about pretty much everything you’ve suggested. What gives?

SOLVE IT: Be direct. Say something like, “I can tell you have issues with my ideas. Maybe we can come up with some together?” Be non-threatening so she doesn’t feel attacked (which could make her act even more harshly). Hopefully, she’ll explain why she thinks your plan won’t work. Maybe you’ll agree with her, maybe you won’t. But as long as you make her aware of her condescending ways, she may back off a bit.

You plan to get together at the library after school. An hour rolls by before she texts ya that she totally spaced. For the third time.

SOLVE IT: Help out your forgetful friend by nailing down times, places and other impor- tant project details early on. Then, send her reminders the day before (and even the day of if you have to). That way, both of you can stay on track so you can be 100 percent focused on rocking this assignment.


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 Do you love or loathe group projects? How do you deal with project problems? Let us know!

by Samantha Leal | 2/1/2016