Working in groups typically sounds like a great idea; it can mean less work, bigger brainstorming sessions and a larger skill set. It makes projects more fun when you don’t have to work by yourself. Although it is easy to see the benefits of group work, there are times when working with others can be a bit tricky—especially when you get stuck with people who aren’t willing to pull their own weight.

It can be frustrating to collaborate with people who aren’t putting 110 percent into the project, especially when you are. All of a sudden, the group you thought would be perfect is slacking off and you’re stuck doing all of the work. You become run down, frustrated with your group and can’t wait until the project is over. There isn’t a guaranteed way to ensure that you won’t get stuck with an awful group, but there are a few ways you can try to prevent slackers from negatively affecting the project.

Set your expectations early.

By discussing your expectations and goals at the beginning of the project, you will get to know everyone on a more personal level. You can compare your goals to theirs and make sure you’re on the same path. Whether you want to finish the project early or get an A, sharing goals will help safeguard you from pairing up with people who don’t have the same ones in mind.

Delegate tasks.

Try to distribute the workload evenly so everyone has to be accountable for his or her own section. Assign a group lead, a planner, a proofreader—make sure everyone is clear on the to-dos and every task has a task master.

Create a timeline.

By having a timeline, you can ensure all project components will have a due date so they will be completed on time. Creating a timeline ahead of time will allow everyone to plan ahead and know when it is the best time to work on their section.

Have weekly updates.

Checking in weekly may seem like a waste of time, especially during weeks where there isn’t a lot going on. However, it is still helpful to meet for 15 minutes so everyone can touch base on where they are with their part and answer any questions they might have.

By using these tools, you can help make sure that your group is on task and doing their part so you can have a great group experience.

What are your tips for collaborating with a group?