Building An Effective Team

To build a quality facility within budget and time1 limits, project managers need an integrated team that can work toward a common goal. A genuine team does not happen spontaneously, however, but is built according to certain ground rules. (Refer to Figure 2-3).

The goals of team building are to increase the cohesiveness and effectiveness of a functional work unit (FWU) within the organization while also creating opportunities through which individuals can derive satisfaction and pride in their work. Team building efforts are typically directed at a combination of three primary areas:

• Task accomplishment: solving problems, clarifying goals, establishing priorities, planning activities, allocating tasks, and using resources effectively.

• Team relationships: building and maintaining effective interpersonal relationships (between supervisors and subordinates and among colleagues and peers), improving communications, understanding and managing the team's group dynamics, clarifying mutual role expectations, and managing conflicts at interpersonal, team, and interunit levels.

• Team relations with other organizational FWUs (or external groups): clarifying the functions that must be performed by interdependent FWUs (for example, when the purchasing group must operate within the quality assurance criteria specified by production groups). It is important to ensure the efficient coordination of these functions, to identify demands being made on the FWU by "outside" individuals or groups,

* How to Manage Successful Construction Projects, Thomas Dickson. Reprinted from Plant Engineering, March 27,1987. ©19 87 by Cahners Publishing Company.

Figure 2-3. How to Build a Successful Team

An integrated project team is necessary to a successful construction project. Building such a team takes commitment on the part of the plant engineer, who will have to exercise certain management traits:

• Provide candid, frequent, and timely communications on job cost and schedule status, procurement problems, labor problems, organizational problems, personnel problems, etc.

• Accept questioning and penetration into job details, problems, and recommendations.

• Accept involvement in project decision making such as approval of contractor's personnel assigned to the job, suggestions, and construction techniques.

• Accept direction for change if, after discussing the subject, the project team issues such direction.

• Participate in the necessary meetingsdesignedtodevelopandimprove the team relationship and to establish a satisfactory level of trust.

• Determine if there is a better way of carrying out a given construction operation (managerial, operational, or clerical) and plan to study, explore, and develop potentially better ways.

• Allow the project team to operate without too much control from the home office. The home office role should be that of a consultant, providing help when required and setting overall policy. The project team should be able to handle independently the filed purchasing requirements, job cost accounting, preparation of progress reports, and in general exercise the necessary job control prerogatives.

• Understand that changes may occur as the job progresses and expect the project team to manage them.

• Develop plans for turning over various parts of the facility at different times to permit staggered check-out and operator training. Project personnel must be cooperative with engineers who are assigned to check out the facility installation and operation, and be willing to make frequent field engineering changes.

• Coordinate procedures for plant personnel to begin operations in some areas while construction is continuing in adjacent areas. Prepare to work under restrictions that may be imposed by plant management (such as "off-limits" areas, cleanliness, standards, parking locations).

• Maintain control of public relations matters such as publicity, news releases, and statements about jobsite conditions, etc.

• Be concerned continually about the impact of illegal strikes and slowdowns, and other restrictive practices, on the job cost and schedule. Expect contractors to protect their companies' interests aggressively, even to the extent of taking risks or illegal action.

• Develop "team building workshops" to develop skills in communication and breakdown barriers between departments.

and to determine whether and how to respond to those demands.

The project manager who stresses the dynamics of team building can also demand and expect a high standard of quality from his own team and from the contractors doing the work.

An individual experienced in human resource development gives the task force guidelines on how they can become more effective. The workshop leader discusses subjects such as "general semantics" and why communication breaks down. An effective way to show the group the power of effective communication is to give them a problem which tests their "working together" skills.

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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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