In the real world, most problems are solved not by individuals, but by groups working toward a common goal. It makes sense to use a group approach in an academic setting as well. A group has the potential to achieve results far beyond the capability of any one member.
What is the best way to accomplish effective team performance? The most fundamental requirement is for every member of the team to have a common vision of team goals and expectations. One way to establish this vision is to develop a Team Performance Agreement (TPA). The TPA can provide a framework for group efforts, outlining what is expected of each member, how decisions will be made and how conflicts will be resolved. As you prepare a TPA keep in mind that project reports will be graded on accuracy, presentation and creativity. Specific items that should be addressed in the TPA include the following:
An excellent reference for Team Performance Agreements and time management in general is First Things First by Stephen R. Covey, A. Roger Merrill and Rebecca R Merrill. It is published by Simon and Schuster, ISBN 0-671-86441-6.
Since the Team Performance Agreement is a contract, it should look like one. It should be typed rather than handwritten, dated and signed by all parties to the agreement. Each person's name should also be typed, with the signature just above.
Obviously, it will be impossible to do this if the contract is not agreed upon and prepared in advance of the date it is due.