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Working on Group Projects: J and P

Working on Group Projects: J and P

10-part series by Patrick Kerwin, MBTI® Master Practitioner, with some great tips on how students can manage conflict.

In the previous three blogs we examined how you can maximize the power of the E and I, S and N, and T and F preferences on a group project. In this blog we’ll take a look at the last pair of preferences, Judging (J) and Perceiving (P), and see how each can be best used when working on a group project.

The J and P preferences are the producing preferences. They both have very different ways of getting things done and, when working together, they can help the group get things done in the best way possible. Let’s look at how your preference for J or P might work in a group project.

If you have a preference for J, you’ll likely be focused on closure, wanting to put a plan in place for getting the project done. Once Js have the plan they usually want to follow it, avoid last-minute changes, and complete the project as soon as possible.

If you have a preference for P, you’ll likely focus on how the project unfolds, gathering new information or possibilities along the way. Ps usually don’t mind deviating from the plan or dealing with last-minute changes, and will often finish their piece of the project on time, right before it’s due.

With their very different styles, sometimes Js and Ps can drive each other crazy when working together on a group project! But you can turn “crazy” into “crazy good” by remembering each other’s preferences when working together.

For example, let’s say there are Js and Ps working together on a class project that is due in two weeks. Since Js tend to start production early and work systematically, they’ll likely have their portion of the project at least halfway completed one week into the project. Since Ps tend to start production close to the deadline and work spontaneously, they may have none or only a few items completed one week into the project. So when the group has a project meeting at the end of week one, the Js may be dismayed to learn that the Ps aren’t halfway done and may see them as dropping the ball. The Ps, on the other hand, may wonder why the Js are expecting work so early and may see them as micromanaging.

With type as a framework, however, the group members could negotiate their differences earlier in the project. They could identify specific items that need to be done one week into the project. The key word there is need—because sometimes Js would like to have something done early, even though it might not actually be essential. If there are items that truly need to be done by the one-week point, then the group could set a deadline to meet in one week to review them. That sets up a plan for the Js and a deadline for the Ps. Then the Js need to let the Ps do their part of their project in their own way, and the Ps need to periodically assure the Js that they are tracking to the deadline.

That’s how you use J and P together to get the best out of everyone. Now that you’re aware of how all four preference pairs can influence a group project, in our next blog we’ll look at an easy way to apply this information as you begin to work on one.


Read Patrick’s previous blog: Working on Group Projects: T and F



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