Project Team Management | Team Development

Team Management

Project Team Management

The success of the project is not only dependent on the availability of the funds and technical resources, but also on the people hired to work on it. Therefore, it becomes necessary to build an effective project team by hiring capable and mature individuals who have experience and understanding of working on projects.

A project cannot be completed if the team working on the project is ineffective. The project team comprises the project manager, project management team, functional and operations managers, vendors and business partners, and many other members (directly or indirectly related to the project) who work together to achieve the project's objectives. The project's success depends on the capabilities of team members and effective coordination among them. An effective project team:

  • Should have clearly defined goals.
  • Should have open and efficient communication culture.
  • Should be empowered to make decisions whenever required.
  • Should have balanced participation of its members in project related meetings.
  • Should be motivated to perform at their best by creating positive environment.
  • Should not have conflicts that can hamper the work. This must be ensured by using conflict management techniques to resolve disputes and maintain harmony in the team.

You know that the project is a temporary endeavor. Owing to this, the project team is also a temporary team, which comes together at the beginning of the project, works on the project, and is disbanded once the project is completed. This temporary nature of the project team makes it even more difficult for the project manager to manage the team. This is because there is no bonding between the team members; they struggle for power; and high levels of conflicts exist among the team members. To manage this team well, the project manager needs to understand the team dynamics, as the team goes through the various stages, i.e. from forming to adjourning.

Stages of Team Development and Growth

Team development is the process of learning to work collectively as a team. Effective teams generally go through various stages during their development and growth. The process of team development includes five stages — forming, storming, norming, performing, and adjourning. These stages are as follows:

Forming: During this stage, the members of the team are selected. The members get acquainted with each other, and look for leadership and authority for guidance. They share their experiences and expectations, and learn about the working goals, objectives and their roles in the project. During the forming stage, the project leader must have well-defined goals and ensure that the team members understand him/ her.

Storming: At this stage, people in the team begin working collectively. They compete to gain acceptance of their ideas and status in the team. It is likely to have difference of opinion among the members, resulting in conflicts and hostility. As a result, the performance of the team is low at this stage. To overcome this issue, the team leader should motivate team members to respect each other's ideas and differences, and to develop bonding between them. The team members need to resolve their conflicts and begin to work as a team, so that storming stage ends, and the project work continues further. If the team fails to do this, the team may never go past this stage.

Norming: At this stage, the team begins to work in harmony and achieves the desired result in the project. Consensus is built among the team members about their own role, as well as the role of their team leader. Performance of the team gradually becomes better, and the team now begins working towards a common goal.

Performing: At this stage, there is harmony in the team. There is a clear and organized structure of the team and commitment among the team members towards the attainment of the project's goals. The team's progress is monitored and controlled by the team leader to avert any possibility of the team going back to the storming stage. All the efforts are made to achieve the friendly environment among the team members.

Adjourning: At this stage, the project's goals have been achieved. Now, the final tasks are wrapped up and the results are documented. There is reduced workload on the team members, and the process of disbanding of team begins. The team members are either relieved or assigned to other projects or teams. The team leader should celebrate the Success Of the project or evaluate the mistakes Committed if the project failed.

The team development process is applicable to every project undertaken. To make the project successful, all the efforts must be made to motivate the team members to work together in harmony at all stages of development.

Team Dynamics

The effectiveness of a team relies on the clear understanding of team dynamics, which is governed by the subconscious, psychological forces that have an impact on the team's behavior and accomplishments. These dynamics are developed as a result of team's work, the relationships among the team members and the environment in which the team works.

Team dynamics can help in improving the performance of the team if it is well understood. The three important dimensions of team dynamics are as follows:

Team Cognition: It lays emphasis on the process of situation evaluation and team decision-making, based on the situation. This requires the knowledge of situation, factors that impact the situation, different alternatives available for making the decision, criteria for making the decision, and situational constraints from the perspective of different stakeholders. The teams that share knowledge during the performance of the tasks and activities are the best performing teams.

Team Cohesion: Social connection among the members of the team is an important aspect for creating the right team dynamics. The bonding between the team members relies on various factors, such as motivation of the team members, trust between the team members, empowerment for decision making, role clarity, rewards and recognition, acceptance and avenues for personal growth.

Team Conflict: It includes the differences in opinions and disagreements related to tasks or intrinsic relationships among the team members. Task conflicts generally occur when team members disagree with the content of tasks, while relationship conflict takes place when there are differences in the values of team members.

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