collaboration

Think back to one particularly successful collaboration you’ve been involved in. What made it successful? What approaches, strategies, and/or tools did you use that played a role in the success of the project?

Alternatively, you can write about an unsuccessful collaboration and identify the approaches, strategies, and/or tools that created problems.

Respond in the comments section below, and feel free to comment on others’ responses.

34 Replies to “collaboration”

  1. I think the most successful collaboration I have ever been involved in was working on an essay with a friend of mine in the 3rd grade. Obviously, I can attribute the success in large part to working with someone that I already had an affinity with, but I do think there were other differences between this collaboration and others that I have participated in which led to its success. I think the essay was successful primarily because we equally contributed to all stages of the project: most importantly, we collaborated equally during the idea generation stage. When I reflect on my past group projects, there is not a lot of collaboration during the idea development stage. It usually consists of one group member coming up with a good idea, and everyone else agreeing. Although there is nothing inherently wrong with that process, I think that this makes it more difficult for other group members to feel equally as committed, responsible, and passionate about the project; to put it in other words, the idea on which the project is based on is not their “baby” in the same way it is for the idea generator. I have found that I do my best work when I am excited about the idea I have for it. I think the same is true for others in group work. The only reason I believe collaboration at the idea phase does not happen more often is that it is a lot more work to create something that embodies everyone’s passions and creativity than it is to just simply accept an already crafted idea proposed by a singular group member. Therefore, a good approach with collaborations is to allow sufficient time and mental bandwidth for this collaborative brainstorming phase.

    1. I think you make an excellent point here, Stella. Having collaboration and shared investment at the idea generation stage is so important but also challenging–especially when people in the group are just getting to know each other. So collaborating with friends can help. And it’s also the case that we have a lot to learn from our third-grade selves.

  2. One successful collaboration that I have been a part of is creating a video project for my high school Chinese class. My group had to film a video about how to make a certain recipe, all of which had to be explained in Chinese. We decided to teach the class how to make mochi, a Japanese rice flour dessert. Even though I worked on it five years ago, this project stands out to me as especially successful because it involved the perfect combination of teamwork and individual motivation. As someone who usually prefers to work alone, I gravitate towards projects which depend solely on my own work and dedication. However, I really enjoyed working on a team for this project because everyone in my group was so excited about it. The enthusiasm amongst us made the process fun, and I looked forward to each of our meetings and the ideas that would be brought up during them. In addition to this sort of discussion and collective brainstorming, we also divided the work up between meetings so that each person could work on an individual piece before we saw each other again. This was very effective for our team since each of us was motivated to finish our work and present it at the next meeting, whether that be completed subtitles for a certain scene or a chunk of edited video. I think this strategy of combining group and individual work is effective in every kind of collaboration. It allows for people to bounce ideas off each other as well as own and be proud of their own work. It also strikes the perfect balance for a team mixed with some people who prefer to work individually and others who don’t.

    1. I really like the idea of presenting teamwork progress in meetings! It seems like a more casual way of holding each other accountable.

    2. Enthusiasm makes a project so much fun to work on! While there are projects that I prefer to work alone, I mostly like working on projects that make me motivated and excited and I especially like working on the projects where every team member is just as passionate and enthusiastic as I am because I think when a project is fun to do, you tend to do a better job at it.

      I do think the key to making a project successful isn’t necessarily working on it independently but rather having good communication with team members. However, having a team member that is very good at one thing on a project is very helpful because it helps with the moving pieces of the project and yes, individual work is important in a project, but I do not think it is the most important in a project.

      I really liked hearing your story Jordan! Thank you so much for sharing!

  3. A successful collaboration I have been involved in is planning an event for my sorority. There were so many moving parts to the project, such as brainstorming, painting and creating large-scale decorations, setting up rental equipment, preparing catering, and many other small creative tasks. It was a very successful collaboration for many reasons, the primary one being that we created a team to carry out the project. The team consisted of two project-heads, two project assistants, and the project committee, which totaled around 40 people. The assignments of roles for the project allowed the delegation of tasks to be determined in a smooth manner and having many people involved allowed for a lot of great ideas to be shared. The project-heads decided what the overarching theme and goal of the event was going to be, and then determined which color palettes, decorations, and activities would be most appropriate for the theme. The project-heads engaged in a lot of brainstorming beforehand, which was helpful in working together to decide what would be the most effective approach. The project-assistants helped with gathering resources, overseeing the committee work, and generally troubleshooting any challenges we would come across. The committee did a lot of the physical tasks which included setting up the venue, painting and crafting, and generally preparing the space. I think because the tasks were pre-defined, it helped the different committee members work together effectively to complete them. Since we all shared a common goal that was pre-determined, as well as had a lot of visual tools that guided the creative aspects of the project, everyone’s contributions were cohesive and all of the members worked well together.

    1. I agree that pre-determined tasks are great so that people know what they are responsible for right at the beginning of the collaboration.

  4. A successful collaboration that I have been involved in was working with a team for the New Venture Competition in Fall of 2020 and creating a business plan for a company I had thought of. There were many elements that made our collaboration and final product successful. The elements I believe played the biggest role in the success of our collaboration include: The development of a diverse team, equal task division, setting weekly goals and deadlines, peer reviewing each other’s work, giving quality feedback, meeting often, collaborating to problem solve, and having a fun and accepting environment. All individuals on my team had high motivation and a strong interest in my idea. They all came from different ethnic, regional, and academic backgrounds.This allowed for a range of perspectives, opinions, and knowledge. Setting weekly goals and deadlines as well as meeting at least once a week and having a plan for what to discuss kept us on track. Peer reviewing each other’s research/work at the end of each week enhanced the quality of our business plan and making a fun environment where mistakes are okay, and sometimes even celebrated was key in our successful collaboration.

    1. Hey Marissa,

      I’ve heard of the New Venture Competition and it’s definitely something that I’m considering doing. That being said, working in a company, diversity is very important and there are a lot of deadlines to follow. I’m noticing a common theme in reading everyone’s stories here in that collaboration and teamwork are very important.

      Overall, great thoughts and hearing your story, I can relate to my own experiences right now.

  5. In thinking back on my personal history of collaborative successes, a very recent experience came to mind immediately. For one of my literature classes last quarter, we were assigned a book to explore, discuss, and present to the class during section. I was not thrilled about embarking on a group project (I never am) but was surprisingly content with how everything went upon completion of the project.
    First off, I got to meet my group members in person. Having completed several group projects over Zoom, it was refreshing to get to know people face-to-face right off the bat. I think we all felt more comfortable with each other from the start due to this.
    We also started off honestly, and I think this is what really helped us succeed in our collaborative endeavor. One of the group members declared that he had already read the whole book, one admitted to reading a comic book translation instead of the actual text we were assigned, and I shared that I had not even purchased mine yet. We were all on different pages, but communicating about this openly from the start set us up on the right path.
    I think another large part of why this collaboration went so well was because we all felt similarly about the amount of work we wanted to put into the project and the grade we wanted to get out of it. We didn’t necessarily each go around and blatantly state our perspectives on this, but each of ours naturally became obvious over the course of our meeting.
    We then brainstormed what topics each of us would cover in our presentation and divided the work in this way. We discussed our strengths and weaknesses in terms of how confident we felt in our understandings of certain themes/topics, and this really helped set everyone up to do their best. We set up a vague outline of what each section of work would look like to make sure that we would end up with a cohesive presentation.
    After our first meeting, we went off to do our work on our own, but communicated with each other in a groupchat asking clarifying questions or opinions. I think this was a key step as well. Although we were all doing our own portion of the work, we were still each involved in everyone’s process. Again, we were honest, and let each other know when we would have what done. Because of this, we weren’t stressed about each other’s work or someone not finishing on time.
    The presentation went great, and we actually continued to lean on each other throughout the rest of the quarter, using our groupchat to ask quick questions, catch up if anyone missed anything, etc.
    It was also nice that the project was not really worth a large portion of our grade, and we were told from the start that it would not be graded harshly. This took the pressure off and allowed us the freedom to actually spend all of our time working on our understanding of what we were discussing rather than just focusing on how to get a good grade.

  6. For a previous UCSB wiring class, I participated in two writing assignments – one that was successful in it’s collaboration efforts and one that was not. The two projects were vitally the same – to write a magazine article about a current newsworthy topic or event. For each project, we were split into groups of four and assigned different roles. Initially, most of the groups noticed that the roles were not split evenly concerning the amount of time that each person was to put into the assignment. The roles, listed from the most effort to the least effort, included the editor (basically the person who writes the entire article), the community manager (who was in charge of all the interviews), the data journalist (who collected all of the online statistics and information), and the multimedia manager (who put the piece onto Medium and collected images). For the first assignment, my group performed these roles exactly as I has listed. We all collected different information and did not collaborate well. For example, the images that the multimedia manager collected did not necessarily fit in with the statistics that the data journalist collected, or the community manager was conducting interviews that did not align with the story that the editor was writing. The project was super messy and ultimately, the editor did almost all of the work to write the piece. For the second assignment, my group and I discussed the different ways in which we could better support each other in order to spread the work out evenly amongst the group. For the second assignment, my group and I talked on the phone once a week to connect out ideas and kept a master list of everything we were working on. This led to a much more successful project where everyone felt that they contributed an even amount and could feel proud of the work that we did.

  7. A successful collaboration I had was last quarter in my TMP Marketing class. It was a quarter-long group project with 6 people per group and it involved multiple assignments and due dates throughout the quarter. I felt like my group collaborated very well and this was due to our clear communication, delegation of tasks, and each individuals’ commitment to the group’s success. One part that made our project extremely successful was how we each brought individual strengths to the group. Some had great leadership abilities, one took charge of time management and setting meeting times and agendas, and others had skills like keeping track of financials or working with graphic design. We each contributed our individual strengths and skills to the group which allowed us to delegate tasks successfully. Another approach that played a role in the success of the project was our clear communication and ability to meet up in person. As this was the first quarter back from virtual classes, we were all thankful to be able to meet each other and work on our project together in person. This contributed greatly to our clear communication, which allowed us to stay organized, on track, and productive. Furthermore, even when we were not in class each of us clearly communicated our questions or concerns in an iMessage group chat or offered to hop on a Zoom call to discuss further. Overall, I think this clear communication and delegation of tasks greatly contributed to our success as well as each individuals’ willingness to contribute equally and motivation to do well on the project. I have been in projects where one person is doing all the work or one person is doing less work than everyone else which can make the project unproductive and frustrating to work on. However, this project succeeded not only because of our clear communication and delegation of tasks but also because each individual group member was dedicated to the project and equally motivated to contribute.

  8. One of my current positions requires the collaboration of several teams to meet an important deadline every week. However, the transition from remote to in-person has not been easy, and the organization as a whole has found it difficult to coordinate between teams to meet this deadline. After a rocky quarter of overcoming high learning curves and adapting to a rigorous weekly schedule, I would say we have improved considerably, but there is still a long way to go. The responsibilities of my team heavily depend on the successful completion of tasks by the other teams, which meant that our designated time frame would shrink significantly if there were any bumps along the way. Reflecting on our workflow, I would say that one of the main issues was the lack of strict deadlines and communication. Deadlines that were not enforced led one team’s delay to impede the next until my team was left with very little time to complete our task. While the teams made an effort to communicate with each other, response time was slow, in turn making progress and improvement slow. I believe that if we approach this quarter with clear expectations, roles, and effective communication, we will be able to make the weekly process much more efficient.

  9. An unsuccessful collaboration that I was a part of was a quarter-long group project for one of my TMP classes. Although we ultimately finished the project and received a fairly good grade, our collaboration throughout the project was often frustrating and difficult. I think the first reason the collaboration was unsuccessful was due to inconsistent communication. The project took place over zoom and each of my group members lived in different locations, thus we had to work around multiple time zones. It was difficult to find times to meet that fit into everyone’s schedule, so we often had meetings where not all members were present. The presence and contribution of each member were imperative to the success of the project, so our progress was often hindered. The inconsistent communication then led to another issue which was failure to delegate tasks. Since not all members were present in the meetings, it was unclear and difficult to delegate tasks among each member. This would often lead to parts of the work being incomplete and members not doing the task they were assigned. The last issue that affected our collaboration was differences in work styles. Half of my group members wanted to follow strict deadlines for each part of the project, while the other half preferred a more loose and less structured work schedule. These differences often lead to disagreements and frustration between the group and an uneven distribution of work. The ongoing and unaddressed issues within the group lead to frustrations and lowered our group morale. Looking back on this group project, I think these issues could have been resolved if we discussed expectations and set goals among the group early in the project.

  10. I have been apart of many successful collaborative projects both academically and professionally. Professionally, I work for an event planner and we mostly put on large weddings. When we put on our first large wedding in 2021, (following canceled 2020 weddings) the most important thing I learned as a group was to delegate tasks to each individual and be clear with directions. When you delegate different tasks to different individuals, you can get multiple things done at once, and one person can specialize in an area they feel the strongest in. You also feel less overwhelmed. For example, I was assigned to timing all wedding. This means making sure bride is ready to walk at a certain time, making sure catering is ready to serve, etc. We would report to our boss, the CEO of the company, and she would be that collaborative mediator who makes sure all the parts come together smoothly. What comes with this though, is the need for clear directions; this relates directly with leadership. When I was new, my boss did not give good directions on what she wanted. I would have to go up to her multiple times and ask how to do things, if I was doing it right, etc. Instead, she should have taken the time to clearly state directions and exactly what she was looking for. (Especially since she knows the client the best and takes about a year to plan a wedding). I would get extremely frustrated with unclear instructions, which made the whole team frustrated. This is a leadership skill. We have had some chaotic weddings, with mishaps we cannot control (weather, officiant not showing up on time, not enough chairs delivered for guests) but I say its a success when we work together as a team to figure out how to make this go over smoothly. You can relate my story to almost any collaborative project, and it also relates to my academic projects as well.

  11. Last summer, during an internship, I had a relatively unsuccessful collaboration experience. I was put in a group of 7 to rebrand Totinos Pizza Rolls for a new, younger, target audience. The project started out fine with one specific girl taking the lead and designating everyone roles. As we worked deeper into the project though, she kind of receded into the background, leaving our team with no clear leader. No one was stepping up and meeting after meeting, nothing would get done. Our meetings consisted of a lot of spewing of ideas, talking over each other, and no clear plan for our next meeting. The project went on like this until it was coming down to the wire and we were no where near done. Two weeks before the due date, we realized we had to buckle down if we wanted to even finish. From this point on, the girl who was our original leader emerged, people began completing their tasks, and we had clear communication. In the end, we actually won first place with this presentation over 5 other groups. I would still argue, though, that this was an unsuccessful collaboration. I think what created our issues as a team was our approach to working together. Everyone took a backseat, hoping that someone else would do the leading. This isn’t always a bad thing, but I think in our situation, everyone should have been eager to lead. An additional aspect that hindered our collaboration was our leader giving up half way through. I think one thing to learn there is that if you decide to lead, you have to follow through with your position. The last thing that really stifled us was the fact that this project was remote. My team never took the time to bond or get to know each other. So we all felt really disconnected from the project and each other, which made it easier to slack off. I definitely learned A LOT during this collaboration.

  12. The first thing that comes to mind is a collaboration that had pieces that were extremely well-executed along with elements and unsuccessful collaboration. I currently hold an internship in project management and one of my projects last quarter was to go to each department and help facilitate the upkeep of documentation (archiving old and unused files, helping departments to figure out what needed updating and/or if new documents needed to be created, etc.). The collaboration that was successful was with another Project Manager who helped with the transfer of the project from her ownership to mine. We set weekly one on one meetings to go over any questions that would arise, troubleshoot any problems, and come up with solutions to implement together. She sat in on meetings with me to provide support and it felt truly collaborative rather than having a more senior member “babysit” me in the meetings. Having her work alongside me throughout the project was immensely helpful and I felt like the project itself was much better as a result. The unsuccessful aspect of the collaboration is that I had to work collaboratively with multiple departments to update documentation. Instead of working collaboratively, a few departments said they were not going to have the time to do so and refused to hear anything more about the importance and relevance of the project to their department. I think part of the issue that arose was the fact that I was an intern asking these full-time employees to work on a project. While the project had been conducted for months prior, I felt it was easier for them to tell me no since I had no leverage in the company. While the project was ultimately completed, certain departments are months behind on their upkeep with documentation since they weren’t willing to work together to come to a compromise.

    1. Hi Helena,
      I definitely have found that weekly one on ones are a good way to maintain communication virtually. But I still always dread doing them. Also, I’ve had similar experiences with being brushed off as an intern. It’s really annoying because everyone has been entry-level at some point, so it doesn’t make sense to act like they are too busy/good to hear you out.

  13. When thinking about a successful collaboration that I have been apart of, I cannot help but think back to my time as a staff writer for The Clean Kick Co. While applying to this internship, we were asked to fill out a comprehensive list of our skills and what we bring to group settings. From there, the company formed little “pods” that included staff writers, copy editors, guest speakers, and group leaders that all had similar interests in the realm of writing and whose group styles worked well together. By having such a coordinated group setting where all of our strengths and weaknesses were balanced by each other, my group and I worked incredibly well together. This collaboration was such a success because everyone knew what was expected of them as a group member, there was an atmosphere of openness and honesty so that everyone felt comfortable sharing their opinions, and our interests aligned while our writing strengths simply complimented one another. This final strategy of pairing group members up by both their interests as well as how they view their roles in group settings was one of the most successful approaches to creating a healthy group dynamic that I have experienced thus far in my academic career.

    On a more personal level, I found that my role when it comes to collaborations greatly depends on what everyone else is bringing to the table. For example, I often find myself taking on the role of researcher, editor, and stylistic organizer in many group projects in which I show up, get my work done, and make sure our product looks cohesive at the end. As I advance in my academic career, I find that this is often a perfect role for me and makes me a dependable group mate in any group collaboration. It feels weird to endorse this role for myself because I feel as though it is taboo in the US education system to not always strive to be a group leader, but I find that I get more done in this role and I enjoy being the behind the scenes glue to a group project as opposed to the face of the team. I utilized this approach in the collaboration mentioned above, and I have never felt so confident in myself as a group member or writer. Being the researcher and organizer in this setting allowed me to learn so much about topics that inspired me to even become a writer in the the first place, such as environmental intersectionality, and aid my fellow group mates in producing a lot of work that we were all proud of. Overall, this collaboration consisted of balance and excitement from all parties because we were all confident in ourselves because we were put in roles that played to our strengths. If it were ever my job to form groups in the future, I would definitely employ this technique.

    1. I really like the way they formed groups with you all – it seems like a really positive and effective way to collaborate and I wish that was the case for all types of collaborative work.

    2. Hey Lia,
      I agree with you in thinking that the best collaboration is done when everyone knows what is expected of them. It also helps a lot when the group is on a friendly level and has some sort of connection. I think its also really great that you know where and when you work best. I don’t think I’ve quite found this for myself yet. But maybe if I look harder I will!

  14. One challenging yet successful collaboration I was involved in occurred during my journalism class senior year of high school, while working on a feature piece about the unhealthy diet culture of the Marin Rowing Association. I was assigned to research, interview, and write the piece with a classmate named Tilly, and throughout the process we collaborated with the Editor(s) in Chief and class advisor to determine how we would cover the sensitive topic. It was important that we expose the issues with rapid weight loss and intense dieting encouraged for rowers trying to make the lightweight team, without making the story too graphic or disturbing and without revealing the names of students who wished for their experience to remain anonymous. Because the story was watched so closely throughout the whole process, Tilly and I’s collaboration with editors was critical for the success of the story and to prevent it from being pulled as the center spread piece. I believe we achieved success through open communication, clearly defined goals, organized transcripts/interviews, and persuasiveness in explaining our vision. It was important that the two of us communicate exactly what we felt should and shouldn’t be included in the article and how we would deal with potential backlash. I think in group partnerships, the most important thing is to communicate expectations clearly and determine common goals.

    1. Hey Alexandra!
      I really enjoyed reading your post and thought you brought up a lot of important points that we need to be aware of as writers. I didn’t even think about collaboration in terms of tacking sensitive topics and how important teamwork and being on the same page is when covering topics like that. This issue is so difficult to navigate as a writer in any situation and I am glad you mentioned how important communication and having common goals are throughout this process.

  15. A recent successful collaboration of mine was a term project last Fall for Comm 168 Community Engagement. The class was split into groups of three to five students, and each group was tasked with solving an issue relevant to our community in an effective and respectful way. My group, made up of five students, focused on sustainable fashion in Isla Vista. As a solution, our group conceived THRIVT, a sustainably-minded, community-oriented brand hosting buyers and sellers at monthly local clothing sales. THRIVT aims to normalize thrifting and unite our community while providing an accessible and affordable alternative to fast fashion.

    Our team members worked well together for a few reasons. Primarily, a few of us knew each other already, which allowed quick connections and trust to form within the group. One member was my housemate; this led to many great brainstorming and editing sessions on our couch. We were all able to share ideas more effectively without fear of rejection, and I personally felt more free to provide constructive criticism or suggestions when we began to falter. We used our text group chat often, not only for THRIVT-related messages but also to share social plans, life updates, and new ideas.

    In addition to our quick-forming social connection, our group’s varying perspectives contributed to our ability to design an initiative that was multi-faceted and self-sustainable, including my graphic design and marketing expertise, one member’s thrifting expertise, another member’s fashion expertise, and our remaining members’ social and professional connections. We built a strong foundation by first recognizing the problem in our community, then defining the values, motivations, and goals of THRIVT, and finally identifying our individual contribution potential. In brainstorming and making decisions, we debated from different perspectives our ideas, executions, and impacts, ensuring that our final decisions had considered all opportunities and angles.

    Finally, hosting actual events with 300+ attendees and 20+ vendors required significant organization and communication. Creating informal (and at times more formal) roles within our group helped us differentiate responsibilities and utilize our unique strengths in the most effective ways possible. My group trusted me to lead meetings and events and delegate responsibilities for planning those events, which was a lot of responsibility, but I have experience in event management and a keen eye for the little things (like napkins or price stickers) that made our events so special and smoothly executed. We also set specific meeting agendas, task deadlines, and time-based goals to establish shared expectations and obligations. Holding ourselves accountable to one other in communication and execution led to more effective progress over the quarter, and we plan to continue THRIVT until we graduate even though that course is now over.

    Spending so much time–at least 6 hours each week–with these students both within and outside of class time might have been obnoxious if I did not enjoy our collaboration and the amazing work we did for our community.

  16. A successful collaboration I was recently a part of was a group project for my film production class I took last quarter. We were put into groups of 4 and were assigned to make a one minute long silent film. Right off the bat I could tell that this group would be easy to collaborate with due to their enthusiasm for the project and how eager they were to work on the project together. We were given a lot of creative freedom for this project and we all made sure everyone felt comfortable enough to voice their ideas for what our video was going to be about. Brainstorming while making sure to communicate with each other was an important step when starting the project because this created the foundation of our video. Making sure we were all on the same page before even starting the filming process was also incredibly important in order to not waste time. Throughout the filming portion of this project, my teammates and I made sure everyone in front of the camera felt comfortable and continued to check the footage throughout the shoot to ensure that we were happy with the material. Our actors were open to any minor changes we came up with that day to improve our project and the person handling the camera made sure our shots were aligning with our ideas. While filming we were aware that we all had busy schedules and tried to manage our time well so we could create a well thought out video in an efficient way. Throughout this project we all found ourselves on the same page with what we wanted our project to look like and communicated any questions or concerns during the process which ensured that we were all satisfied with the final product. Only one of our group members was in charge for a majority of the editing since they had to most experience but they made sure to communicate with us during the process and we all collaborated to add final touches before submitting it. I found that one of the main reasons this collaboration was successful was how our team was eager to work together and the amount of healthy communication. We wanted everyone to feel comfortable enough to voice their thoughts and opinions if they felt that it was necessary to improve our project.

  17. In the summer of 2021, I worked with a group of eight individuals. We were peer mentors for transfer students. I presented informational webinars via Zoom and peer advised a cohort of 25 students. In addition, I planned and facilitated weekly events which included community lunches, study jams and social mixers. At first, communication amongst our group was limited because we only had our weekly meetings with our advisors. However, this quickly changed when we were supposed to have another weekly meeting without our advisors to have a weekly check-in with each other. As soon as this was established, everything we worked on together started to run smoother. This group was successful because we all took on the initiative to dedicate ourselves to certain events for each week. In addition to this, one of the things that made everything flow was getting to know each other on a personal basis. Having this as the foundation for our group allowed everyone to develop trust with one another. Everyone felt comfortable bringing up any concerns or new ideas they thought could help. Along with creating comradery with one another, we all had clear communication and goals set. Having clear communication with certain goals set for each other made everyone more motivated to complete their tasks.

  18. Last quarter I took Film 104. Compared to other film courses in the department, 104 is more technical and hands-on, aiming to replicate the film production experience through a series of group projects. Behind any great movie is an expansive team of directors, talent, artists, and production assistants, therefore, collaboration is an intrinsic part of the film discipline. While my first two group film projects turned out so-so, I actually felt proud of the final film I helped to create, and I attribute that to successful collaboration.

    This time around, everyone on my team (4 people total) was equally invested in creating a film that not only met the project requirements but could also become a potential portfolio piece. Furthermore, the two prior assignments allowed everyone to gain a sense of the different roles involved in the production process, so by the time we headed into the last project, we all knew where our strengths lied. One of the most notable components of our success was the absence of any rigid expectation or creative vision. No one on the team had many ideas when we entered the project, which allowed us to emerge from scratch with raw concepts that we refined collectively over time.

    First, our videographer put forth the seed of an idea: a film that took place in a parking garage, incorporating a distorted sense of time and space. Then I drafted a rough script about a girl who can’t locate her car after it mysteriously disappears. She embarks on a wild goose chase as the garage elevator transports her to the school library and to the art building before she finally makes her way back to the garage. She grows more and more frantic throughout the film, which eventually became an experimental take on the blurred lines between reality and our sometimes distorted perception of our environment. While shooting, we modified and cut scenes as we quickly learned what worked and what didn’t. Our boom operator pointed out audio issues and together, we kept track of consistency. We could only rent equipment for two days so we were forced to work efficiently and effectively. Finally, we walked our editor through the footage and she incorporated her own interpretation of the script with the soundtrack. I never could have predicted that a sort of “play-it-by-ear” approach to filmmaking would have proved to be so successful. But when all team members are equally invested in a project, a creative, open-minded, and innovative dynamic emerges.

  19. One particularly unsuccessful collaboration that is salient in my memory was a group project I had to do for a COMM class last quarter. It wasn’t unsuccessful in the sense that we got a bad grade—on the contrary, it was not a difficult project to succeed in. However, I label it as unsuccessful because of how little we all cared about the project. The foundation for this attitude was set by the ridiculously disorganized nature of the course itself—our instructor failed to outline the class in a manner that would make the students take it seriously. We all entered into the project with no clear idea of what we were supposed to achieve or produce and because we lacked respect for the class/instructor, we all were very nonchalant in our approach.

    We used GroupMe to communicate with each other and had a collaborative Google Doc for the project. Our group had 10 people, which was a lot for a team project and this made it difficult for us to communicate effectively. We met maybe twice over Zoom because there was never a time that all of us were free to meet and thus, we ended up haphazardly assigning tasks to each other instead of truly working together. There were also a couple of members who didn’t respond until the last minute and in general, most of us didn’t really care about producing quality work—it was more a matter of completion. Ultimately, we ended up doing everything at the last minute and it was more an act of piecing together the individual work we had done than collaborating. I would say that our overall attitude was what led to this unsuccessful approach.

  20. One of the most successful and enjoyable team experiences I’ve had in college was in Writing 107M (magazine writing). The course included creating two multimedia magazine articles, each written collectively in a group of 3-4 students. My first group was one of the most cooperative, enjoyable, and productive teams I’ve ever been a part of. Ironically, my second group turned out to be one of the worst team experiences I’ve ever had. Between those two distinct experiences, I can pinpoint three major things that I believe helped contribute to my first group’s success: 1. open communication and easy flow of ideas, 2. active participation, and 3. time management. My first group utilized GroupMe and a shared Google Drive folder, which both allowed easy online collaboration. With the initiation of one of my group members, we quickly established group norms surrounding punctuality, participation, and communication. We always showed up to meetings on time, met hard deadlines, and quickly responded to any questions or updates in the group chat. One thing in particular I thought was especially great was that our group made sure to consider and talk through every member’s opinions before making any decision, from choosing a pitch to submitting the final edit of our article. We proactively gave feedback to each other, celebrated successes together, and asked many questions.

    In contrast, my second team struggled with a lack of communication. Though we were using the same mediums, communication was staggered. Besides one member and myself, people rarely responded to the group chat. One member even dropped the class with no heads up. Additionally, some members failed to complete their work on time, leaving a lot of work for myself and another member to pick up.

  21. From my experience, some successful collaborations came primarily from having people in my group who were natural leaders. This prevented any sort of gridlock or stand still in our projects as we were always given a direction to follow. A lot of these leaders also gave opportunities for the group to provide their input on certain ideas. I also found that a willingness to participate and communicate with the group was important. It is hard to complete a collaborative project with just the leader inputting their ideas. Ample collaboration called for everyone to input their opinions to allow our projects to progress and let us learn from other perspectives. Success was primarily driven by these proper communication techniques. I found it really helpful for our groups to have set meeting times and days to work on the project and to talk about the project together. This allowed us to later work on our portions individually after being able to talk about our expectations. In our first meeting, we usually fleshed out our expectations through a guideline that we wanted to follow. After this initial guideline, it was easy for us to continue to build off these expectations.

    Alternatively, I found unsuccessful group projects to be driven by a lack of communication and consistency. It was hard for us to continue to work individually when we couldn’t establish a consistent meeting time to talk about our goals and expectations. This led to some members having to commit to more work than others in order to complete the project. Although these projects were ultimately completed, collaboration wasn’t enjoyable.

  22. One of the most successful (and also most professional) experiences I’ve had with collaboration was during my PR internship last summer. I not only learned a lot about PR but also how to navigate the workforce since this internship was my first “office” job. Right off the bat, communication was recognized as the most necessary component for any team. During my internship, I was communicating daily with my coworkers in cubicles next to me, my supervisor, and editors/journalists when pitching. But perhaps the most important piece of advice for how to be successful at the company was the component of “proactive communication”. I was introduced to this term in my first week in my introductory meeting with the founder of the company, who explained what communicating proactively means. Proactive communication is the ability to inform others about what you are doing or what you have done before they even ask. In other words, it’s being able to update others without them having to ask themselves. This I learned also helps with reaching goals and organizing your day. I’m excited to take this with me in my personal life and work life as I know communicating proactively will help me accomplish tasks and collaborate transparently and successfully.

  23. The most successful collaboration I have been involved in is my work as an executive board member of Greeks Go Green, an environmental student organization on campus. I am the marketing chair, so I collaborate with the executive team and my own committee of marketing interns. On the executive board, I have to collaborate with every member of the team. I create a promotional strategy for events that other members plan, share educational resources from other teams and market our hiring periods. I worked with the whole board to create content for our recently launched website. I also run a team or interns who create Instagram content and help brainstorm idea for merchandise, website content and other ways to engage the community. Our collaboration is so successful because we maintain close, amicable relationships with each other and are incredibly passionate about our mission. Within the club, we all get along very well on an interpersonal level. On the executive board and with my committee, we are able to be candid with each other and provide necessary support. We are also very passionate about sustainability, which drives us to complete goals and put our best effort into our work. As a result, we have continued to engage the community in creative ways, make sustainable changes and grow the organization. More specifically, the club now has the most members it has ever had, our social media engagement has grown significantly in the past year and our biggest sustainable project is set to be complete this quarter.

  24. Last quarter, in my Community Engagement course, I collaborated with a group of students in an effort to promote greater menstrual product equity and accessibility on campus. With several negative experiences under my belt, I was nervous about signing on to a group project that accounted for the entirety of my grade in the class. Luckily, we were granted a lot of freedom in regards to what we wanted our project to focus on as well as a say in who we’d like to be group members with. I had a couple of friends in the course who were interested in the same topic as me and I knew their character well enough to be confident that they were reliable group mates. I think being able to eliminate the stress about groupmate accountability was definitely the initial factor that contributed to our group’s overall success.

    We were met with lots of obstacles including funding, storage of the menstrual products, determining parties responsible for the restock of these products, but as a team, we were able to create solutions and promote cross-collaboration between organizations on campus who were aiming to address the issue of menstrual inequity. We each interviewed various campus organizations to gauge their interest in menstrual equity and the work they have done in an effort to tackle it. Our joint effort to speak to all of these organizations led to the creation of a committee with representatives from over 13 different campus organizations that are now combining resources to better tackle the issue of menstrual inequity and menstrual product inaccessibility.

    The individual interest/passion each of my group members had for the project as well as our trust and reliance on one another to get the job done is ultimately what is responsible for the creation of the committee and the progress being made against menstrual inequity on our campus. Even though the course has ended each one of us is still invested in the project and we still sit in on committee meetings to support the effort’s sustainability.

  25. Being a content writing intern myself and a student who currently does journalism, I collaborate all the time. Also, in the classroom, there are a lot of times where we have to do class projects.

    In my current internship where I am Content Writer and Social Media Marketer at Coast, communication and teamwork are the two most important values in the company. When I first got started at Coast, I was nervous because I felt like it was the very first job I ever had. As I continued to work, I realize that writing is about more than just the writer. There’s a whole process that goes behind writing. So, in our writing projects for Coast, we collaborate all the time. The process starts with discussing ideas for content such as blog posts and social media posts. After discussing our ideas in the meeting, each of the writers and social media marketers gets their assignment on what to write about or post about. We then write before posting on the website our assignments and it then goes into editing. After the editing process, we work on writing the social media posts to promote it. After our assignments are posted on social media, our work is not done because we promote it by responding to people who have responded to our posts.

    Writing goes beyond the writer, it’s a whole collaboration between myself, my colleagues, and my boss/supervisor.

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