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.

10 Replies to “collaboration”

  1. One collaboration I thought of was when I was a part of a news staff team in high school. At first, we struggled to collaborate and carry out our plans because we didn’t know how to divide work between people and there were a few people on the team who spoke over everyone else in an attempt to lead. As a result, others felt left out and as if they weren’t really a part of the team. Eventually, we addressed this issue, and after it was corrected, it was a lot easier to collaborate with each other.

    Thus, I think part of what makes a collaboration successful is allowing every collaborator to have their own voice in the project. It’s important that there aren’t only one or two people making all of the decisions for the whole team — otherwise, it’s not really a collaboration. Creating an environment where everyone feels comfortable sharing their ideas opens up a whole new world of creative opportunities that you wouldn’t normally have. Thus, in addition to contributing your own ideas, making sure to listen to others and being open-minded are great approaches to have when it comes to collaborating with others.

  2. One successful collaboration I have been involved in is when I worked with a group to create and conduct a study for a research methods class. One thing that made it successful was the delegation of tasks. We were all assigned a certain portion of the tasks as we went through each step of conducting a real scientific study. It made the completion of tasks less daunting, and it allowed everyone to work equally.

    A tool that I believed contributed to the success of our project was the use of the many platforms within Google Workspace. By using Google Docs, Slides, and Forms, we were able to work on our project at the same time without having to be physically together. It also allowed us to easily look over each other’s work/ideas before we would meet in-person during section.

  3. One of the most successful collaboration I was involved in is probably when worked with five of my COMM 166 classmates and carried out an Integrated Marketing Plan for a startup client in downtown Santa Barbara. I’d say there are several essentials that helped our group success in this group project. First, we kept our communication open and fluent. At our very first initial meeting, we discussed each of our preferred meeting times, work styles and best contact methods. Base on the information collected, I then created a zoom link that was established for recurring meetings and made a timeline with various sections, including “activity”, “date assigned”, “date completed”, and “note” sections. The “date completed” section ensure everyone to stay in touch in terms of their working progress. **reminder: it is important to create an open communication atmosphere, which means if anyone is behind the work don’t be harsh on them, instead reach out and check-in if they had any problems or concerns. In the end, it is a collaborative work so we are here to help each other and learn better. In the “note” section, I added link to another google doc that contains all of our meeting notes. On top of this, we also set goals for each of our meetings, such as “summarize findings” or “review professor comments on initial proposal”.

    Second, we kept our work organized. We coordinated different responsibilities. Some was the financial analysts, event planners, content writers, and I was the visual designer. We did had a manager role, but we felt that was too formal and just took turns to take the lead. Also, everyone was active and took initiative in different parts of the project. I particularly took initiative to take notes during the meetings, send out the reminders for task and instructions, and act as a liaison between the group and instructor.

  4. One collaboration I’ve worked on recently was for WRIT 107B, also known as business and administrative writing. My group and I were to create a business plan, which was comprised of a 30+ page document. First, we exchanged contact information and then proposed an idea for the project. Once we agreed on the ‘business,’ we then divvied up the work. We met online weekly to ensure that everyone was on track and shared a comprehensive Google Doc that allowed us to check up on each other. When needed, we would message our group chat with any questions or concerns.

    Overall, communication was a huge reason why our collaboration was successful. We always helped each other out and called weekly to go over the progress we made that week. Before submitting the assignment, we also read over the document altogether to ensure that it was ready.

  5. One successful collaboration I’ve had that comes to mind was a presentation for my PR class in the fall on the business strategies and brand analysis of Dolce and Gabbana. It was one of my more successful presentations because I was working on it with a close friend in a partnership, and we were extremely comfortable checking in with each other and were not afraid to give each other constructive criticism. One downfall in a lot of academic presentations that I seem to encounter often is that the workload is not dispersed evenly, and in times during this presentation when I felt like I was putting in more effort, I was comfortable enough with my teammate to let them know and we found a solution. We remained organized throughout our creative process and clearly established roles so that no areas were left unchecked. We organized all of our research into one file and organized all of our slides into a Google presentation and prepared beforehand. Overall, our presentation went really smoothly and I think a major contributor was our constant communication and clarification of each of our roles throughout the process.

  6. Last quarter I participated in a successful collaboration process during my TMP marketing class. The project assigned was to create, market, and sell an original product we produced as a team. As the teacher let the students pick their groups of five and no one was familiar with each other or their skill sets, there was a high risk of miscommunication and individuals not working well together. Luckily, I spoke with five girls on the first day in my class, and we instantly got along, and all seemed like-minded and highly determined, allowing us to pick our group easily. To start the project, my team began by writing up a contract to abide by as the project would take place over the entire quarter and many crucial deadlines and tasks needed to be met on time. In doing so, we had an open conversation about how we wanted to make team decisions collectively rather than one person having authority, the times we wanted to meet outside of class each week, how we intended to communicate, such as via text and zoom, and wrote out our overall goals for the assignment. Then, when picking the product we wanted to make and sell, the other teammates and I made sure to express and create an open environment where there were no bad ideas, as it would spark and inspire other members’ designs. Finally, we got down to three choices for our product and weighed the costs and benefits as a team, leading to our final selection of making unbreakable IV shot glasses. Establishing and maintaining a communicative and nonjudgmental environment was one of the primary strategies that allowed my group to thrive. As a result, everyone felt comfortable, motivated by the others, and never silenced or scared to share their opinions. In addition, we divided the roles by who had experience with and was excited by each marketing task, which enabled every member to be driven and work their hardest on individual tasks by proving their creative skill sets to the team. The qualities my team developed and shared pushed us towards success and a strong relationship with each other, which from my previous experiences, can be very rare when working in large groups.

  7. One of the most successful group projects I worked on was for my Marketing Communication class. In this class we worked for 10 weeks with the same group of 5, in an effort to compose an Integrated Marketing Communication Plan for a local company. As a whole we worked extremely efficiently with one another, and I think a big part of that was delegating various roles to each person. We had a leader, a designer, and writers making it very easy and clear to understand who did what. Our communication happened either in person, with notes taken, or over a group text, so there was always record of what we talked about in an easy to find way. Talking on the one platform made it easy to keep track of everything. We were honest with one another, kept to a strict timeline, and made sure to encourage one another’s successes. I think a key to our success was open and honest communication, as well as individual discipline. We understood that we relied on each other to complete their work, which made moving forward together easy. I think something else that helped along our project was that even though we were friends, whenever we approached working together we stayed on topic and worked efficiently. In the end we got 100% on our finished project and actually got to present to the local storeowners.

  8. My favorite success story for a group project is an internship I did here at UCSB through the CARE office. We were in a small group through about 8 weeks of spring quarter and together we hosted a tabling event and made graphics and stuff for an awareness topic we decided on as a group. What worked well was division of labor based on skills. We had an art team, a digital graphic team, a research team, and an outreach team. Working based on personal strengths was helpful so no one felt behind or caught out and everyone could bring unique things to the table.

  9. The most successful and large-scale collaboration that I was involved in was coordinating last year’s Social Justice Conference (SJCON) with the MCC. It involved a lot of moving parts, including an outreach process for speakers, a very comprehensive onboarding process, and an at-conference facilitation process. We weren’t organized hierarchically, which I found to be very rewarding because there weren’t any power ordinances that affected the working dynamic. However, I think the key to effectively coordinating a project like this would be to practice transparency, accountability, and ongoing discussion. It was very difficult for me to advocate for my needs and capacity, especially when it had seemed as though some of us had been assuming more labor than others.

  10. In my PSTAT120A class, I was a part of a group where we had to read a statistical research paper and make a video about it. Since one of our group members had classes until 9 pm, it was difficult to meet as a group. So we met one time at the library to discuss and allocate roles and decided to film our own parts of the video remotely. It was successful since we all had equal amounts of work and our video came out great. Some things to consider were time constraints in the video, topics and elements of humor. It helped to make things funny so that people actually enjoyed working on a topic that could be esoteric.

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