Q: Are we doing group projects?
A: Yes, yes, yes
Q: I don't know "XXX", is that a problem?
A: Not necessarily. The purpose of working in a team is that people's skills are complementary. If you can't do something as well as someone else, do something else. If there is one person that has all the skills, you must learn to help them by mastering a small piece. These projects require a diversity of skills: programming, scientific understanding (domain expertise), documentation, presentation, graphical design, web design, etc. Sometimes, having someone get food or bake cookies is the final piece to get a project to the finish line. Everyone has to do their part.
Q: I hate group projects because I end up doing all the work while other people coast to the finish line. What can I do about that?
A: Peer-review. Each group project has a component where everyone ranks and rates the other group members. We have a no slacker policy in the class.
Q: Is documentation important?
A: Yes. Everyone must be documented where it is accessible for everyone to read/view.
Q: Help, computer system XXX just went down. What do I do?
A: Welcome to real world of data intensive science. Systems go down, and usually at the worst possible time. Hopefully you have your code on GitHub, have good documentation, and a team ready to deploy on a different system. If this happens during the midterm or final project, the due date will not change. Be resourceful and make sure you document what you do.
Q: I hate my group, what do I do?
A: You can leave and work with another group. Likewise, a group can ask you to leave. Nothing personal, this is just business. If you can't work with any group, talk to the professors.