My Project Management Expert

Successful Project Teams

As a project manager you will quickly learn that having successful project teams makes delivering a project much, much easier. Now you mght wonder why this is, because as long as every resource delivers their tasks to the specified schedule and quality required, it shouldn't matter whether you are managing a successful project team or not.

But of course it does because that old adage still rings true. This importantly says that:

"The sum of the whole is greater than the sum of the individual parts"

What this means is that when your project resources are working together as a team on deliverables, this will pay greater dividends and ensure more is done, than if all those resources work in isolation.

So let me give you an example where this is particularly relevant. During the system and end to end testing phases you will need to draw upon the input of numerous resources from different workstreams. Now you can of course do detailed project resource planning, but the reality is that it is during these phases that the project budget and project resource scheduling go out the window. All that is important is reducing the numbers of high severity bugs in order to meet the launch date.

Now many project managers simply throw resources at the problem. But if during the project lifecycle you have honed your key resources into a well oiled machine, you will find that these phases become much easier to navigate through since everyone will be working as a team to resolve problems. This means that instead of arguments over who should be fixing what, and worse still who is to blame for things going wrong, this get's forgotten because the simple objective is the end goal of launching, not the route in getting there.

Of course managing project resources is hard enough without additionally trying to mould them into successful project teams. But it certainly isn't impossible.

Top 3 Tips in Creating Successful Project Teams

1. When you are allocated resources onto the project make sure you go and meet them in person if at all possible, so they know who you are. This not only helps them to put a face to the name, but also puts a stop to those watercooler gossip sections where rumours start. The last thing you want going around the Organisation is that you are the invisible project manager because no-one has met you.

This is particularly important to do if you are either a new project manager at the Organisation, or you have just been promoted to that role.

2. Make sure you find out from each resource exactly what they will be doing on the project and also where they see the problems occurring. Take a note of these and make sure you do whatever you can to prevent them from happening. Remember all resources want is to do is get on with their work without distraction

3. At the first project meeting ask everyone to firstly tell everyone else two things they might not know about them. You will be astonished what comes out, and as a bonus it breaks the ice and ensures resources are already thinking as a team.

The reason for this is that instead of people thinking of Dave as the geeky networking guy, they now think of him as that cool guy who flies gliders in his spare time. By putting a human face on a person can really work wonders in fostering team spirit.

There is no guarantee that trying these tips will ensure you end up managing a successful project team, but it will certainly facilitate project communication and ensure a higher quality delivery.

Successful Project Teams - Tip

If you are managing a large complex project which has teams from internal and external Organisations or which are onshore or offshore then there is no point building an overall project team spirit.

Simply ensure that all workstreams work to the same end goal and that when the chips are down it doesn't degenerate into a them and us bunfight. Something I hasten to add which is easier said than done!

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