It is a common mistake to jump straight into tasks, before getting to know the members of your group. This can lead to conflict as members of the group fail to understand each other. Invest time at the beginning of your project to establish professional relationships.
To have a successful project, members of the group need to know each other. This will help a group divide tasks according to strengths and interests, learn how to communicate and ensure that everyone contributes to the group. Putting in effort to establish good working relationships at the beginning will help you avoid problems in the long run.
A group contractshould explain how you will work together: where you meet, how often, how you communication, how meetings will be run and how you will deal with conflict. The group contract can be a 'live' document that you amend. For example, you might increase the number of times you meet to ensure you complete the task by the deadline.
Include the following:
Name of your group;
Names of group members (and you can attach the contact sheet);
Key information i.e. name of unit / module, task brief and assignment deadline;
Communication methods i.e. getting in touch with each other and sharing information (see collaboration tools for ideas on communication approaches);
Group meetings - Where you will meet, how often and how they will be run;
Group roles - Team leader and other roles;
Project plan - Key milestones (dates) you need to meet;
Conflict resolution - How you will resolve disputes, How you will resolve breaches of contract e.g. a group member not attending meetings;
Name and signature of each group member and date signed.