San Josť State University - URBP 200
Professor Asha Weinstein - Fall 2004
Guidelines for Effective Teamwork
Here are some guidelines to help your group work together
effectively. I suggest that your group discuss them at its first meeting, or soon after.
Setting team goals and procedures: Although the
following issues may seem awkward to discuss, a team can help to prevent serious
problems later on if the members come to agreement on them right at the
1. Discuss membersí goals and expectations, including:
- The amount of time you expect to allocate.
- What you want to learn from doing the assignment.
- The grade you each hope for.
2. Develop a plan to prevent the ďfree riderĒ problem
(a team member who does not fully participate).
- Develop a plan to deal with it, should the problem arise.
- One suggestion: agree to confront the problem the first time it happens.
Getting (and staying) organized: One of the
challenges of working with other people is organizing yourselves so that you
neither duplicate work, not leave tasks undone.
3. Analyze requirements for the semester-long assignment, as well as for each interim
assignment (Parts I, II, III).
- Break up the assignment into discrete tasks.
- Be sure to include the tasks of group management (scheduling meetings, facilitating meetings, taking notes at meetings, etc.).
- Be sure to assign one or two people the task of preparing final documents to turn
4. Assign tasks.
- Make sure that all tasks are covered and that each person understands his/her tasks.
5. Put together a schedule, with work assignments and
due dates, as well as meeting times.
6. Assign someone to take notes during each meeting and
distribute those minutes afterwards.
- This can serve as a reminder to each member for what s/he agreed to do.
- If there is disagreement later about what the group decided, written notes help to reduce conflict.
Working effectively as a team
7. Encourage each personís best contributions.
- Encourage everyone to speak during meetings and to give an opinion on important issues.
- Consider dividing up tasks according to each personís strengths.
8. Be tactful but honest about
- Your group work will progress most smoothly if you are honest about your ability to contribute,
as well as about your opinions.
- Speak up if you feel there is a problem: it is dishonest of you to remain silent if you feel that the group has a problem that needs to be addressed.
- BUT: Remain tactful when expressing yourself.
9. Plan a time and format at the end of the semester to discuss the teamís successes and areas for
- Decide on a time and format at the end of the semester to discuss each personís strengths, as well as areas for improvement.
- At this time, you should also discuss how the group functioned as a whole and
the lessons you have learned that you would use next time you work in a group setting.