June 07th 2021

We know your struggles - Part 5

How to design your group work efficiently

Group work is an integral part of every course of study. This time-consuming work is often more complicated when several group members are working full-time. Nadin Reinstadler, research assistant in the Department of Business Administration Online, had to master a lot of group work during her studies - often several at the same time. In this article, she would like to give you some tips on how to work together more efficiently.

  1. plan meetings efficiently

Who has not experienced it, you are meeting for the assignment and at the end of the meeting the bottom line was not much. This is how it is with many groups. You discuss, talk about other study contents and some think to themselves "actually I have more important things to do". In order to use the time wisely, it is advantageous to create an agenda or to clearly define the items to be completed for each appointment. This way every group member knows from the beginning what the goal is and nobody is annoyed that no real progress has been made. A tool that can be very useful for this is Microsoft To Do.

  1. digital tools for good collaboration

Another important tip is to choose a tool for collaboration. Many use Skype, Microsoft Teams or maybe Zoom for the meetings. However, in addition to video communication, there should also be a tool that ideally maps a Kanban board. Thus, one has a quick overview of the tasks to be completed, those already in progress and the completed ones. If desired, the respective tasks could also be divided among the members to prevent possible misunderstandings. Here are three tools that are well suited for this and are free to use:

In addition to a project management tool, it is also useful to have a shared virtual folder. In my group work, we always used Google Drive. This way, everyone had access to the latest documents.

  1. task distribution

As briefly mentioned in the previous point, most project management tools allow you to define the responsibility for each task. Regardless of whether you use a tool or not, I would advise you to define who is responsible for which tasks right at the beginning. It makes sense to divide the tasks according to strengths and the respective preferences, so that the results turn out accordingly. If certain tasks build on each other, you should think carefully about who will carry them out. Ideally, there are two members of the team who can work well together and, above all, can rely on each other.

Group work will always be time-consuming, of course, but if you take these points into account, you will save yourself time and also some unnecessary discussions.