The group project is an important part of my postgraduate degree here at Cranfield University.
I am studying for an MSc in Environmental Water Management and I have had the opportunity to work in a team with students from different MSc courses in Environment and Agrifood. In the team, I was joined by a fellow colleague from the same course with 4 others from 2 different courses (Future Food Sustainability and Environmental Management for Business). For our project, we worked on Water Risks in Horticulture for our client. This was a new opportunity for me as I have not had previous experience working for a horticultural business in the past. But it gave me the chance to work with diverse people and develop myself.
I have been fortunate enough to find myself in several groups and teams in the past, so teamwork has been a skill I have developed over the years. This experience was different as I was going to be working with different people from a diverse range of ethnic groups and different courses. I have successfully worked and communicated effectively in a team in the past, so I was confident this will turn out excellent right from the start.
Our group project aimed at analysing water risks and developing measures to mitigate them in the context of the water management systems put in place by our client. We were to propose different water strategies based on our findings and available technologies, the most efficient management and technological solutions to monitor water use, recognise water risks, and implement schemes for water supply enhancement and water demand management. Site visits were organised by our client and we were able to visit one of the sites before the lockdown was initiated in the UK. All other meetings were held online on Skype and the collection of data was through email.
We organised weekly meetings and we met at least twice a week to discuss the best possible way to complete the group project successfully. I was nervous whenever I meet new people, and my spoken communication is not at its best position and efficiency at the beginning of the project. Also, I had to work tight schedules and attend to several tasks assigned to me within a short period of time, of which I had to do. I had to multi-task a lot and manage my time in an effective way. I had wonderful group members, who were supportive, hard workers, reliable and result-driven, and most importantly fun to work with! We worked well together and shared tasks accordingly from different locations across the world. Despite the current global situation, we stood strong to ensure we successfully completed the group project.
After weeks of hard work, writing reports, and preparing for our presentation, we had a wonderful session to defend our group project in style as we got positive feedback from our audience and supervisor.
The group project has enhanced my skills in teamwork, time management, written, and verbal communication. My confidence and leadership skills within the group have also improved, as during group meetings and with several tasks I was able to take on the role of leader on some tasks and rise to this challenge. Over the time we were doing the group project I felt less nervous during presentations and virtual meetings and, I was not only able to complete all the tasks allocated to me, but I was also able to assist others in their tasks, and I was also able to do some online LinkedIn courses that are of great importance and value to the group project and to my personal development.