We get it - you've been burned by team projects before. This book provides practical advice and easy-to-use templates to help you avoid common team problems, do better work, have less stress, and have more fun.
With our help, this will be the semester you won't hate your team project!
A Letter to Professors
It is likely you assign team projects in at least some of your classes.
In some, you are trying to develop your students’ teaming skills. In others, team projects are simply a means to learning concepts or analyzing cases. Sometimes, you provide structure and guidance to student teams. Sometimes you stay uninvolved, believing students should learn by trial and error in managing themselves. Some of you are expert in or teach classes involving team dynamics. Others have different areas of expertise and may not have the background or inclination to help manage student teams.
Whatever your situation, you probably have come to share my view that most student teams are not as effective as they can be, and a significant number of student teams end in disaster. This turns students off and prevents them from getting the most out of their projects. And, worst of all, our students are not developing the important team and team leadership skills they need as they entire the modern workforce.
We all want our students to succeed. That’s why my co-author, Dr. Steve Bear, and I wrote, We Hate Team Projects! A Friendly, Useful Guide for College Student Teams (Kendall Hunt, 2019), to help students and faculty more successfully navigate team projects. The book provides a quick review of key concepts of team dynamics, applying them to the specific situation of student project teams- topics such as: team formation, developing cohesiveness, crafting team ground rules, deciding on roles and structures, holding each other accountable, running effective meetings, providing peer feedback, and using simple project management tools. With our help, this will be the semester our students won’t hate their team projects!
Most importantly, this practical book contains multiple examples, assessments, and easy-to-use templates students can use to manage their team dynamics, and can help you more easily monitor team progress.
Assigning this book as a secondary text (90 pages, $22 paperback, $15 as an ebook) should give you more confidence that your students will have a useful and friendly guide for the road ahead. It could be used in any course in any academic program that uses a team project for a good chunk of the learning in the class. You can use this book in a few ways:
If having students develop their knowledge and skills in teamwork is a learning objective for your course, I would assign teams most, if not all, of the readings and templates in this book.
Instead, your priority may be that teams manage themselves well and you want to be kept up-to-date on team progress and/or problems. You can require the book, and have teams submit many of the templates to you as they track their progress.
If you simply want teams to use the principles and templates of this book on their own, you can assign the book as an optional resource.
A Letter to Our Students:
In your careers, you will need to be able to work effectively in teams.
However, in our years of experience teaching classes that involve student teams, it has become clear to us that most student team projects are not helping you develop the team-related skills you need, and, more often than not, are turning you off from future teamwork.
This is why we all hate team projects!
You may hate team projects because, all too often, some get stuck doing all the work, and since no one is in charge, there is little you can do about this. Further, because many professors stay “hands-off” when dealing with student teams, you get little day to day guidance on how to navigate tricky situations and develop successful team processes.
We’re tired of seeing our students struggle. That’s why we wrote this book.
In these pages, you will find lots of useable information about team dynamics that are specifically applied to the challenges faced by student project teams. You’ll read about success and disaster stories our students have faced, as well as advice about what you could learn from them. Finally, you’ll see lots of easy-to-use assessments, templates and forms you can use in your teams to set yourself up for success.
Ultimately, we want you to succeed in your team projects- and having better team process will help you get there. Better team process will make your projects more enjoyable and will help you gain skills you will absolutely use in your careers.