It is always great working with someone you are friends with. Stating the obvious, it means you get along relatively well. Hopefully do not have to carry 90% of the workload, since you have friends that actually care about you. Apart from that, the work environment is lightened by the ability to casually joke around during meetings, and the energy is increased when everyone is mutually interested in a topic. However, there can be problems when friends in groups become lenient towards each other. Meaning they let certain things slide, more than once or twice (like three times :O) and it starts to affects the project. The group can just become sluggish.
We have been working as a group for well over two months now, and there are still a few weeks left until Senior Project actually starts. There may be a few times when an assignment is tardy, but of the tasks assigned thus far, a majority have been completed at the expected date. One may ask “how are college students so amazing, and able to have this awesome of a track record!?” And to that we say, great communication. By great communication I mean a great PM who keeps track of errythaang. Communication is a foundation point of all organizations. Without good communication skills, an organization can expect failure in the near future.
To keep everyone updated on what they need to do, our group uses an online project management tool called Teambox. It has a easy to use interface, and allows all group members to see what each person is up to as well as the upcoming tasks they need to accomplish. It also allows for posting and commenting on these tasks, so each member can bring up new relevant ideas and critiques. Overall it helps to plan and manage the project, or projects, a group is working on. It also allows us to create “conversations” where we can discuss topics, post files and attached Google Drive files.
As a group, we rarely send email to each other. A member has the ability to sync Teambox up with Gmail, and receive real time updates. It is not to say email services are useless to us. We utilize Gmail and Google+ to discuss CB while at work/on a break; any day before our meetings. The hangouts (either plain text or video) allow us to discuss an urgent or brilliant matter that has arisen, refine what we need to be doing, and make it into a tangible task on Teambox.
Communication within a group of friends that are working together also calls for moments of composed bluntness. Where what needs to be said, must be said for the sake of the project. In a respectable manner of course. Within some groups, a divide may form between members due to unaddressed problems. For example some people may avoid bringing up late assignments, lack of participation and subpar work. To murmur about the matter instead of immediate confrontation, can lead to further problems or and uneven distribution of work. Members may lose trust in each other. This creates an uneven distribution of work and collaboration. As tensions rise, quality of work may decrease.
To help keep a separation at bay and our group on task our PM, Chelsea, sends out reminders to keep us on schedule via text or phone call. We are luckily able to deal with criticism because we are Digital Media students, and having critiques is a part of the job. We are able to convey our concern in a constructive and respectful manner, as well as accept it as input to make out work better. Critiquing is a valuable sub-skill to communication. Learning how to express your opinions about someone works, in a professional way, can benefit your group. It is almost like an art itself.
Communication is essential for groups, especially groups of friends. It is important to stay organized to maintain structure or the sake of productivity. We as a group are able to work productively because we all love Coffeebot and are excited to work on it. We as a group work well together because we are friends, and are able to confront each other when needed. Senior Project forces us to work with the same people for 9 months straight. I’m glad that I am stuck with these guys.