We use project-based learning in many of our courses. These projects are transitory in nature: Students form a team at the beginning of the semester and disband it at the end. To help students through the forming stage and become effective as fast as possible, we employ the concept of team contracts:
A team contract is a document that makes team goals, norms, rewards, and sanctions explicit. Students create and discuss a team contract during team formation and all have to agree to it.
A team contract is the first deliverable in a project-based course. A student team has to hand in a printed and signed team contract after the first week of the semester. Changes to the team contract need to be supplied in printed and signed form as well.
To learn more about team participation and performance, please take the TEAM workshop.