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 I am part of a group working on a multi-part project.  Several people in the do not like the project manager and as a consequence their performance is subpar which results in a subpar group performance.  Since I am part of the group, my reputation is being harmed.  I cannot get out of the group.

What can I do?

UP2L8

Mark's picture

...you can tell us more than that.  (Role, relative role powers, industry, job, project, size and diversity of group, specifics of dislike of PM)

Lacking that, work harder, take on more, reach out to team members and encourage professionalism (probably individually) and attempt to plug holes in their and PM's performance (if they exist).

Mark

UP2L8's picture

I am a graduate architecture student working on my thesis project.  In the program we are grouped together in a "studio" of 20 students.  We each have our own thesis project, but we are under the direction of a professor.  The professor rather than be a facilitator, creates additional group projects on which he grades us.  Other studio professors facilitate and students get As if they perform as expected of our level in the program.  Our professor feels he has to have a series of sub-projects on which to grade us.

I have no relative powers in the group, as the group has no assigned leadership roles, which is not normally an issue in a thesis studio.  Two days before the last sub-project was due I called everyone together to try to get them to do something.  I was worried that if we did not submit anything we would all get a bad grade.  The group was really "put out" with me calling them together, and suggesting that the professor would give everyone a bad grade.  They did not believe he would!  I know from personal experience that he would; the others are not aware of this experience.  The professor was going to give me an "F" because he could not figure out how to grade my thesis idea because it was "too" theoretical.  I had to come up with a new thesis idea and project within 2 weeks, or suffer the F.  The group was also irritated because "who was I to call them together"?.

The students are, in general, very irritated with the professor and consequently do not want to do a good job on the sub-projects.   The group did come together, but the just completed submission was so poorly done that I was embarrassed; they just threw it together.  I had to do it their way because I have no other alternative.

The thesis project is very important to us getting jobs after graduation; not to mention the GPA.  

The group's negative attitude; hostility now toward me; and, the professor's lack of direction, are sapping my motivation.

I thought Manager Tools could help because this has to be similar to certain work situations.

UP2L8

jhack's picture

It comes down to what you can and cannot control.   You do not control the syllabus, or your fellow students.  You can control how you work with the professor. 

Your thesis is critical; make sure you do that well.  Work with your professor; ask him how your thesis could be better.  You are unlikely to convince him that your thesis is good unless you incorporate his ideas. 

Group assignments are tough - you must rely on others, and they on you.  Perhaps you could start smaller, find one or two like-minded students that can form the core of a group that puts in the work and does a good job.  There will be free riders in a group of 20.  It is hard to organize 20 people when you have no formal power and no clear expertise above theirs.  So you must build relationships, one or two at a time, to build credibility. 

Good luck.  Much is learned outside the syllabus. 

John Hack

sjtorr's picture

Not having been through a thesis group, I can't say I have any direct experience in such a situation.

I agree with John's suggestions. The only further suggestion I could make is this: can you influence your professor to have smaller groups to complete the projects? then you might be able to take John's suggestion one step further, and group yourself with like-minded individuals. Otherwise, you're still in a large group, with a small portion carrying all the weight and the others benefiting from your hard work. In the end, the grade of the sub-project is beneficial to you, but don't be a slave to the majority either.

You're in a tough situation... I wish you best of luck developing the relationships you will need to carry through the term.