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Group Projects

School taught me to hate group projects. Most of the time, one or two of us did all the work, while the rest sat back and profited. On the rare occasion we were able to choose our own groups, contribution and productivity increased. Although, "Dead-weights" still occurred, as the teacher tossed the "uninvited" into a group.

At least in the situations where we chose our own groups, we were happier with the distribution of work. Those who didn't contribute were in the minority, the burden of "pulling their weight" was reduced. Besides, it was easier to ignore the "slackers" and do all the work, than to try and teach or force them to contribute. With more equal contribution, we learned the value of delegation and communication and we learned how to utilize our strengths and weaknesses to come together as a group.

Although I lack any recollection of the lesson themselves, I'll never forget the lesson of working in a group. Some work harder, some work smarter, some are more cunning and some are simply adept. There are places for all skills, but not all skills are considered equal. Groups worked best when we could build our own and even then, that in itself is a skill not all are capable of doing. There is also corruption involved, when those who are in charge of building the group are willing to ignore talent, in favor of familiarity. There are those who build groups to succeed, and those who build them to be surrounded by their friends and family.

But it's not always "corruption" to choose familiarity over talent. If we were traveling in dangerous situations, ones which called for survival, we would want the most talented. But as such things are rare and most traveling is for vacation, we often choose the most comfortable and entertaining people. Again, the important part is that the power is left in our own hands and we are able to choose our own groups.

So please, tell me how any system is going to work, when it calls for mandated groups and equal distribution of rewards, while ignoring contributions and talent?

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