Building your project team

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Project team

As a project manager whether you are new to managing projects or a season pro: a core early challenge you will face, is forming the project team.

In many instances you may not get to pick the team, having the team presented to you as a done deal, though many of the items discussed here will still be important for you even in the preformed team.

If you are forming a team from scratch then you do want to get the best blend possible, look for a good mix of skills that cover all aspects of your project.  The extrovert ideas people are not always the best at completing the job but can be a good combination with solid completer-finishers who will get you to the end goal.  A clear understanding of your roles and possible team member types will help focus your selection.

Building the Team

The Belbin model is one possible way of achieving this, but there are a number of others that may also work for you.  In short this approach suggests there are 9 team roles:

  • Resource Investigator
  • Team worker
  • Co-ordinator
  • Plant
  • Monitor Evaluator
  • Specialist
  • Shaper
  • Implementer
  • Completer Finisher

An effective team needs to have a balance and blend of those roles, an individual may have skills in more than one role.  Broadly the team needs cover to a few areas: co-ordination of work, ideas generation as well as building solutions. The team also need some focus of completing the work and an objective questioning element that will help to improve quality and reduce risk. When building a new team, you need to consider who is best place to address a good balance of team roles across your group.

Even when you are given a team, you need to review what the blend is and how that might need to be tuned to help you successfully complete the project. Bringing out the skills in your team members is something you must do.

Lead the Team

When considering your management style for a project you are likely to achieve the best results from leading the team and allowing them the space to perform their roles. Project Managers are often control focused, so the right balance can be hard to achieve. Different teams will also require adjustment to the approach. A team of technical experts will want the freedom to explore solutions. They need to be carefully kept on track rather than heavily directed. The less experienced team members will need encouragement.

Working with your team to form a leadership style that is acceptable to both you and the team is well worthwhile.

Calling on the Team

For new teams it will take a period of adjustment to go from forming to peek performance.  Delivery of your project depends on the team.  So whatever leadership style you have decided upon, you need to involve the team in running the project.  Do not be tempted to do all the project related tasks on your own.  Actively involve the team in forming the plan, working with stakeholders and managing risks.

Handling problems, issues and mistakes

As with all projects, your project will not be free from issues and problems.  But approaching problems as a team without blame will help.  Focus on solutions, do not spend unnecessary time looking for the guilty party.  Do look at root causes of problems without creating victims.  Use lessons learned to improve future performance for you and the team.

Forming project teams can be fun and rewarding.  Try to reduce the stress for all involved, it will help you and your project.

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