Are you An Engineering Team Player?


Post #48 When It’s A Team Effort

Your engineering courses will probably require a significant amount of teamwork.  There will be reports, presentations and research to be done together as a group.  This can be tricky.  How does a group allocate work evenly among each person while satisfying everyone’s desires?  And what do you do when others don’t seem to be doing their part?  Read on as I will talk about the do’s and don’ts of being an engineering team player.


Do your Part

This goes without saying.  Everyone has a role to play, everyone is going to contribute in their own way.  Be sure to complete your portion of the group effort.  Some professors will ask everyone to rate team members after project completion.  But some professors may not.  It really shouldn’t matter.  When other depend on your results, you have a role to play.  Whether you chose it or not, whether it’s with a group you like or not, do your part.  Too often, engineering students get excited about their solo projects or assignments.  They like the idea of being in control of every aspect of their assignments.  But it is imperative you understand how to get along and work together in a group setting.  That is how the real world operates.

Project Management

Who is going to manage the project status?  Somebody must keep tabs on work in progress.  I am not saying someone must be the boss and give orders.  Keeping a running status on progress is completely different than directing others.   Project management can simply be a matter of asking each member a few basic questions.  “What did you accomplish since we last met.  Tell us your obstacles.  What is your plan to overcome those obstacles?”  There are teams that may rotate this duty among all members.  I have seen project managers assigned by the professors.  It does not matter who performs this function, there needs to be accountability throughout the project.  Project management will also be an essential feature of your professional life.

Project Management

Worry About Yourself

Is it so easy to watch other team members and to judge.  It can be so tempting to tell yourself that so-and-so could be or should be working harder.  When you are assigned to a team, you expect others will work just as hard as you.  You expect others will produce results just as magnificent as yours.  I really hate to disappoint your expectations if that is the way you think.  But, others are not like you and others have their own philosophies about work.  And I hear you!  Of course, it can be unfair or annoying when others don’t pull their weight.  This is great practice for you because you will encounter it for the rest of your life.  The best thing you can do is to worry about your own work.  Worry about your own learning.  Worry about how you get to be an engineering team player.  Others are going to be what they choose to be.  Don’t waste precious brain energy trying to change others.

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