Working on projects in groups can be very powerful. The extra brain power, hands, and computer time mean that you have the possibility of achieving more.
This is no different than multi-threading on a multiple core CPU. You are offered a tremendous benefit of additional computing power, but this comes with the caveat that you must harness that power by dividing the work.
In a group project, one of the key considerations must be the division of labor. Immediately, it makes sense that you cannot have all of the group members working on the same task. This won’t help you achieve anything greater than what you could on your own.
Dividing the labor is the way to go, but it takes careful planning and thought. Here are a few considerations that you must make and account for.
What elements can the project be broken down into? What are the smallest core pieces. This will allow people to work on pieces independent of each other.
Interaction of componenents
How do the various components work together? This is crucial as there is a certain order to how things must flow and work together.
Without considering this, you could introduce a bottleneck into your project. An example would be everyone working on front-end UI, while no one is working on the back-end server.
The UI is great in theory, but there is no data attached and this cannot be deployed to production.
Importance of features
At times, there are features that are so important to the overall project that it makes sense for more than one person to work on it.
Additionally, the feature could be hard to implement and require more minds working on it.
Communication of goals
All members should have a very clear sense of what each other is working on and what the goals are.
It would be a shame to find out at the end of a day, that you re-implemented a feature one of teammates worked on already. This is lost time or lost cycles.
Communication of progress
Teams must continue to communicate progress regularly. This allows a team to refocus on key pieces as things change. For example, if an important feature is falling behind, you can allocate more people to it.
Utilize team member strengths
Identify amongst the team each members strengths, weaknesses, and interests. This will allow you to align their assignments or tasks within these buckets. This will provide greater efficacy.
Discuss technologies upfront
Brainstorm and identify all the various technologies that you can up front. This offers benefits as the team can all provide feedback about tech that they have worked with before and what other tech might be better suited.
Things change frequently. When you hit a point where tech or a data structure or some other major change must happen, stop and discuss with the team.
Regroup and reprioritize goals. Take the time to reassign the work to each person.
These are but a few things to consider in a group project scenario. Thinking through these can help make for a smoother group process and allow the group to achieve more together.Tweet Follow @zdlopez