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Working in groups

It's important to plan and manage your meetings effectively and keep accurate minutes

Taking a business-like approach to your team meetings, being well-organised, and planning effectively will help you get the most out of your team. 

Staying organised, highlighting your past successes, planning ahead, and making sure everyone is clear about their responsibilities all contributions your team's overall success. 

Why is it important to be organised? 

Being organised helps you stay on top of your work, recognised what's already been completed and decide on your next steps. This is especially important in group work, where it can be easy for misunderstandings or lack of organisation to threaten your group project or allow you to accidentally overlook areas of your work.   

Staying organised and using group meetings:

  • helps you work as a team
  • helps you engage with your project
  • reduces confusion within your group
  • ensures fair and appropriate task distribution
  • holds group members accountable

You might need to use a specific online environment or processes as part of your work. This way your lecturer can monitor individual team members’ contributions or the group’s progress as part of the ongoing assessment. It may also be because that particular environment is efficient and appropriate for the subject area and the task. 

If someones in your group is reluctant to participate in your team you'll need to provide evidence of each person’s roles and responsibilities as a group, and how far they fulfilled them. Keeping accurate meeting notes can help you record individuals' work, and demonstrate how you tried to engage your teammate throughout the project.

 

Meeting agenda template

You should adapt this template to fit your group and work.

 

Item Details
Meeting date and time Ensure it is correct. If it changes, this should be noted.
Members present Always maintain a record of attendees, see below)
Apologies Must be sent in advance, otherwise a 'non-attendance' should be recorded
Previous minutes and matters outstanding Circulated in advance for discussion
Individual progress reports

Focus on achievements but considering:

  • An assessment of how much of the task is complete
  • Likely or recommended completion date
  • What has enabled progress
  • What has impeded progress
  • What has been/needs to be done to mitigate problems
  • What proved to be effective/ineffective. You could consider nothing why the group thinks this is the case.
New agenda items(submitted in advance)
  • Item description
  • Who leads
  • Time allocated

Action planning
  • What is to be done? When will it be done by?
  • Who will do it?
  • How will progress be measured and who will measure it?
Any other business Record additional items raised during the meeting for action or future discussion.
Date and time of next meeting Ensure that everyone has the details and has committed to attending.

 

After your meeting

  • Agree your next meeting date – ensure that the date, time and duration are agreed by all team members in advance and use paper diaries or shared online schedulers, to record and alter agreed meeting times
  • Stay in contact –  always agree preferred methods of contacting each other, such as phone numbers, email addresses or social media accounts (but make sure your online privacy settings mean only your group can see your work) 
  • Deadlines – always agree deadlines for activities that support the meeting itself, such as distributing previous minutes and an agenda for the next meeting, and agree whether it will be distributed by hand, email or a shared online document. 
  • Written records – make sure that you keep written records of agreed actions including sub-tasks and how they will be measured, assessed or evaluated 

Do you want help with group work and organisation?

We can help. Book your Academic Skills Unit (ASK) tutorial now at academicskills@port.ac.uk

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