Successful projects depend on individuals and groups of people working collaboratively.
Managing a Project Team
In managing a project team, a Project Manager needs to possess excellent analytical and organizational skills. A technical proficiency in the specialist area of their project is also a distinct advantage. Remember, though, that projects achieve their outcomes through people – a variety of people working together in a coordinated way to produce the desired results.
How are you encouraging peak performance from your project team? As with any manager getting the best out of their people, you will need to pay attention to your general leadership and management skills. Some of these skill areas that you will need to pay attention to are:
- clarifying project team member roles
- setting team and individual goals
- monitoring and measuring team and individual performance
- feeding back team and individual performance
- resolving conflicts between team members constructively
- delegating responsibilities and tasks
- motivating using a combination of intrinsic and extrinsic rewards
- developing the skills of team members
- coaching team members
Effective teams are so much more productive than groups working on the same task because they are able to leverage off each others’ strengths and compensate for each others’ weaknesses. Making sure that you have the right mix of team members in your project team is therefore an important consideration. Conducting a team profiling exercise is also an effective method for getting each project team member to appreciate their respective strengths and weaknesses.
Team Ground Rules
If your project team gets stuck in a rut with lots of unproductive conflict, there are a number of things you can try. If you haven’t already done so, get your team together to clarify and agree the “ground rules” that govern the team’s behavior. Your “ground rules” should cover these five key areas of team operation:
- team meetings
- team working
- team communication
- team member relationships
- team decision-making
Discussing the ground rules will uncover hitherto unspoken assumptions. Each team member will come to see more clearly where other team members are coming from and what they need from the team to get their job done. Be sure to post the agreed ground rules in a visible place where the team meet regularly. In my practical guide on managing teams through change, I discuss more about agreeing and sharing ground rules.