Creating and using group rules

Create rules that everyone in your group can agree on and follow.

Group rules help to make sure that everyone in your group has clear expectations of one another. They can help your group avoid frustration and misunderstandings.

When setting group rules, it’s important that everyone is honest about what they want, what they expect, and what they can contribute.

All group members must agree on the rules at the start of a project, ideally in the first meeting. You need to be prepared to hold each other accountable to the rules, and to carry out the consequences if they’re broken.

Sample group rules

Below is a list of suggested group rules and expectations. Your group may want to add things, and you should think of consequences that you can all agree on.

Group rules and expectations:

  • the consequence of not finishing an individual task or not contributing fairly—for example, grade reduced by 5 percent of final group mark (if considered fair by lecturer)
  • the grade your group is aiming for—if you’re aiming for an A, or just a pass
  • the time you can expect to spend in group meetings—two hours per week
  • meeting behaviour—show up five minutes early, let everyone know two days in advance if you can’t make it
  • amount of work done individually—research portion, rough drafts of each part
  • timeline—for example, you might want everything drafted by week 5
  • expectations of communication between meetings—for example, you expect to email a reply within three days, or text a reply within one day
  • the consequence of being late for meetings—for example, bring a snack for everyone for the next meeting
  • the consequence of not finishing an individual task on time or to a high enough standard—the group will let the marker know who is responsible for that part and ask them to mark accordingly.

Download a blank template for creating your rulesdoc15.7KB .

Agreeing to the rules

Once your group has agreed on a set of rules, print out a copy, and have the group sign it. This shows that you are all committed to the rules, and understand the consequences of not meeting the expectations you have agreed to.