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  • Writer's pictureCydney Phan

Making It Work: Group Projects

The dreaded group project! Initially I had assumed that the Sprint Design Case for Domino's Pizza was going to be a manageable three member group filled with people I've yet to have the experience designing with or seeing their portfolio. However I was still confident in out ability to communicate and work in unison. But my confidence didn't last long when it was announced that this would be a joint team project with four other members; most of whom I've interacted with and to place it nicely, I didn't exactly have the most trust in the new team.

1. Getting Over My Self-Proclaimed High Horse:

I'm, admittedly, not the easiest to work with in certain environments. I often have a problem letting go of control and trusting that style uniformity can be successfully achieved unless I'm supervising on the final designs. I know this and I try to rein in my anal retentiveness at times. Step one: "maybe not fight for the position of team leader this time" (and I didn't, very graciously being a handle and not the blade). Possibly was for the best, for I would've busted a hernia trying to navigate two different set of instructors, and leading a team of large personalities.

2. Individual Strengths and Delegation:

Is it too obvious to mention that it be best to find harmony through everyone's strength? Well, it is very indeed true. Even the person that nitpicks at all the possible errors in a prototype, though veryagrivating, truly is essential for making sure our wireframe doesn't internally collapse. There's even a purpose for those few individuals whose main role is to perform meaningless tasks. My experiences collaborating with member of the group have been quite positive so far; we've all dedicated time and energy in producing a product that we can be proud of and at the end of the day that's all that really matters.

3. "Am I doing too much?"

I'm not going to lie: there's moments in my process creating iterations of materials that, of course, I thought if I was expelling more effort than my fellow team members. And I still think I'm going to have those moments where I sigh of exasperation when I'm tolling over vectors and layout issues. I constantly have to remind myself that pulling my own weight is different that feeling the need to pull other's weight too. I have to trust that everyone has their own internal clock and not everything will be done to please my internal anxieties.

4. Recognition or Lack-there of

Possibly the most vain of thoughts that I live with constantly being a designer and artist, is the ownership of ideas. I feel slighted when I feel like my brainstormed projects are stolen for the gains of an uncreative individual and these thoughts do transfer over to group projects as well. "Will my hard work be neglected?" "Can I be and produce the best with a fear of others taking the credit for it?" These internal voices are truly disastrous to  a career that thrives on external creative outlets. And I constantly have to battle my own insecurities and doubts. When in a group I have to focus on the awesome thing that we've created not on what might've been taken from me– removing myself from a self centric ideology.

Group projects are universally agreed upon to be generally stressful and overbearing to those that have been forced to bear the majority of the workload. However, for me it's all about establishing and creating an ebb-and-flow that has a unique signature for each group interaction. If all else fails, grin and bear through it; it's gotta have an end somewhere.

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