Team Building

Today's projects characteristically require the efforts of many people from multiple disciplines whose efforts must be effectively integrated to meet project objectives. Further, project managers must cope with dynamic environments, high degrees of organizational complexity, and ever-increasing competitive pressures. Experienced project managers know that the only way to effectively deal with these challenges is to mold their project personnel into true project teams or groups of people with complementary skills who are committed to a common purpose, set of performance goals, and approach for which they hold themselves mutually accountable (Katzenbach and Smith, 1993). Teams feature enhanced efficiency, increased motivation, self-regulation, synergistic output, flexibility, and heightened confidence (Raud-sepp, 1984), all of which are vital to project success in the present competitive environment. Thus, team building is an essential project management skill.

Robert P. Hagen has advanced six key elements of most successful team building plans which, if implemented by project managers, would greatly enhance the state of team building on project teams (Table 17.7.2).

TABLE 17.7.2 Six Key Team Building Elements

1. In all actions, demonstrate respect and consideration for all employees as valued members of the team.

Are employees encouraged by example and admonition to respect each other? Do they know enough about each other's job to appreciate the contributions others are making? Does a general atmosphere of consideration exist?

2. Identify individual job responsibilities and performance standards and see that they are known.

Are individual discussions held to ensure that each employee knows their job's standards and responsibilities? Does each team member understand how their portion of the project is important to overall project success?

3. Work to secure good communications with employees as individuals and as a team.

Do team members feel their inputs and suggestions are valued? Do they receive regular feedback on how they are doing? Is advance warning of changes conveyed whenever possible along with reasons why changes are necessary? Are regular exchange meetings held? Are team members included in decision-making?

4. Establish individual and group goals, preferably in coordination with those concerned.

Are individual goals established for each team member? Is consideration given to each individual's opportunities for professional development? Are group goals established and communicated to the team? Is a goal established that encourages growth in team development factors like team planning, conflict resolution, and problem solving?

5. Reward teamwork and team building efforts.

Who issues rewards? Project managers? Functional managers? Are rewards mostly based on extrinsic job factors like pay, bonuses, and working conditions, or are they based on intrinsic job factors like accomplishment, recognition, responsibility, and growth? Does management recognize the difference between rewarding an individual as a member of a team, and rewarding an individual as an individual? Are individuals singled out and rewarded for their performance on the project team? Do team members have input into what and how rewards are given and to whom?

6. Practice and encourage loyalty to the team.

Does the project manager defend team members against unfair criticism? Is there a climate of trust on the project team? Is effective leadership practiced by project managers?

Project Management Made Easy

Project Management Made Easy

What you need to know about… Project Management Made Easy! Project management consists of more than just a large building project and can encompass small projects as well. No matter what the size of your project, you need to have some sort of project management. How you manage your project has everything to do with its outcome.

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