Super Mega Happy Fun Time: Group Work

A group sitting around a table talking to each other.

Communication is at the core of productive group work.

Sharing is caring. So it’s time to work in a group. Nothing of any significance was ever done by a single man or woman, not even in the world of video games. 

“HEY! What about that guy who made Minecraft?” – random internet reader

No. Not even Markus Persson, or more commonly known as ‘Notch’, the creator of Minecraft did it alone.

And if you think about it in a more philosophical way, we all stand on the shoulders of those who came before us. I don’t think I can say that as a software programmer I made the app that I made the other day all by myself. There are so many libraries, algorithms, lower level compile processes, design interfaces, et et that others have made that helped me get to where I am today. And I am thankful.

But whether we look at it in a practical way or in a philosophical way, great works of humanity are usually done by groups of people working together towards a common goal.

Some of the benefits of working in a group are that you have people to argue and fight with. And no this isn’t a bad thing. Bouncing ideas off of other scholars, arguing about opinions, and embracing new ideas is simply amazing. At the core of these acts is potential growth for both you and for your project. Your project can’t succeed without growth. 

Working alone has its pros and cons. One of my favorite things about working alone is that you don’t have to waste time with super long meetings. I can just have an idea and then go to work on it. Yet on the other side of that coin, the thing I hate the most about working alone is that no one is around to tell me my idea is pure and utter crap. 

Working in a group also has its benefits and drawbacks. One of my favorite things about working in a group is the potential for “enthusiasm rub off”. I can illustrate what I mean by that term by giving an example. When I work on projects, I usually get very excited and enthused about them if I truly believe in the project.  When I see other group members’ enthusiasm, their enthusiasm rubs off on me and I get even more motivated to do a great job. It causes me to go above and beyond anything I could have done alone because of the responsibility I feel toward my team.

If it is still hard to understand, then think about the concept of having a gym workout buddy. Think about why it is easier to find yourself consistently attending the gym when you have a workout buddy compared to how inconsistently you attend the gym if you don’t have a workout buddy, personal trainer, or fitness class.

Yet one of my biggest fears of group work is also enthusiasm rub off. But in this case the other group members have no enthusiasm and don’t care about the project at all. Often if I find myself in this situation, I tend to also loose interest in the project. I tell myself if my teammates don’t believe in the project, then why should I. 

Hopefully in the future I’ll be able to turn the emotions around, rally the troops, and make the team members who don’t believe in the project into team members who believe and truly care. 

Two people sitting at a table talking, giving feedback, and iterating.

Communication, feedback, critique, and iteration are key elements of group work.

Yet regardless of pros and cons, or hopes and fears. If you want to have good group productivity. You and your team members need to communicate. Communication is at the core of productive group work. Your concerns will never get addressed if you don’t bring them up to your team members. Concerns are important because without them your project will never grow and become great. 

In short, group work isn’t perfect, but it is the best thing that we have in order to make amazing things. And if you know how to communicate with your teammates, then you will be able to think as one and create something truly amazing. 

P.S. To all those who were expecting a topic from the last post, I’m sorry. This was a required assignment post. I’ll try to post one of those other topics next week. 


1 thought on “Super Mega Happy Fun Time: Group Work

  1. Pingback: When Doing a Group Project. . . |

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