[opensource] Group Dynamics

Nick Hurley hurley at todesschaf.org
Tue May 23 10:10:47 EDT 2006

Here's my experience, both from having taken 560 (with a group I knew  
beforehand), and from having been the grader/TA for Al Stutz's 560  
class multiple times.

Yes, group work can suck if you don't know who you're getting. On the  
flipside of that, though, you may end up getting the best hackers and  
documentation writers in your entire class. It's pure luck. The group  
I took 560 with, 3 of us knew each other beforehand, and we got one  
random guy. Even though 3 of us knew each other, the one guy was  
enough to make our whole group have to work at least 5 times as hard  
as we would have otherwise. Conversely, from having been a TA, I've  
seen many groups that didn't know each other from Adam before the  
class not only do well, but be the best group in the class. (I've  
also seen the opposite end, though the only time it was truly bad was  
when one guy got stuck in a group by himself because his one teammate  
dropped the class... the teacher gave him the opportunity to join  
another group, but he refused. That was his own stupidity, in my  

And, the fact remains, that in the real world, you will be put into a  
group of people (your coworkers) where some are more talented than  
others, some don't pull their own weight, and some can even end up  
moving the team backwards. That's just the way the world works.

Just my $0.03 (yes, I said THREE cents!)

    "If good things lasted forever, would we appreciate how precious  
they are?"

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