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8. Project team An effective team has synergy that results in

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1 8. Project team An effective team has synergy that results in
The collective efforts of team members being greater than the sum of individual efforts. Collective responsibility Open communication Learning from one another Successes and failures belong to all. See an interesting interview with a project manager at the end of this chapter.

2 8. Project team as a core While the project manager is responsible for the overall project, team members carry out the actual work. An effective team exhibits synergy, excitement, cooperation, innovation, coordination, and drive. To be successful, a project team must share a common vision despite differences in values, skills, and styles. What are important characteristics of an effective IT project team?

3 8. Characteristics of an effective team
Competency – in terms of technical skills and managerial skills. Hardware, software skills as well as communication and interpersonal skills. The pool of talents must include diverse knowledge and skills that enables the team to carry out the range of activities described in the project plan.

4 8. Characteristics of an effective team
Common purpose – everyone works for the same set of objectives described in the project plan. This helps: channel collective efforts toward the ultimate goal of the project; e.g., customer satisfaction. focus communication reduce ambiguity. increase interaction among members. Project goals and objectives can be used to create a sense of common purpose among team members.

5 8. Characteristics of an effective team
Sense of trust – among team members as well as between members and the project manager. Members feel comfortable discussing mistakes. Members feel comfortable asking each other for help. It reduces secrecy, rumor, gossip, etc.

6 8. Characteristics of an effective team
Positive attitude – the team exhibits a can-do attitude at all times. Especially when project is faced with setbacks and difficulties; turnover, vendor issues, resource shortfall. It shows creativity and exhibits problem solving attitude to get things done within time and budget.

7 8. Characteristics of an effective team
Outcome oriented – the team understands that ultimately it is the customer satisfaction that matters. Considers project owners, sponsors, users and the management as customers. Works toward accomplishing the desired outcome.

8 8. Characteristics of an effective team
Problem solving – the team seeks creative means to accomplish goals and objectives. The ability to see problems before they arise and to prepare for appropriate response. It reflects team competency and experience and creates respects from stakeholders.

9 8. Characteristics of an effective team
Synergy – the team exhibits high levels of energy, coordination, and effectiveness. The team functions as a cohesive unit. Communication among members is smooth and effortless. There is a high level of understanding among members with respect to project goals. The team’s energy is focused and waist is minimized.

10 8. Characteristics of an effective team
Responsibility – members feel responsible for successes and failures of the project. Individuals succeed or fail when the team succeeds or fails. Individuals relate responsibilities of their work units and tasks with those of the project.

11 8. Characteristics of an effective team
Openness – the team exhibits openness for exchanging ideas. Innovation and critical thinking is encouraged. Proposals for change are forthcoming, realistic and timely. Members feel comfortable seeking help from others; this will reduce problems later.

12 8. Characteristics of an effective team
Professionalism – the team holds high standard, respects the individual, and adheres to codes of ethics. The team exhibits integrity. Members respect each other, customers, and stakeholders.

13 8. Important factors Three important factors influence these characteristics: Establishment of effective communication channels. Clear definition of the project goals and objectives. Careful selection of team members.

14 8. Highly effective teams
Have output greater than what the sum of individual efforts can produce. A highly effective team demonstrates the followings: Members volunteer to be on the team There is representation from across functional areas. Members understand and accept individual responsibilities. Members are clear on the project objectives.

15 8. Highly effective teams
Members understand that successes and failures are shared. Members see the big picture and understand their individual contribution toward the big picture. Communication is frequent and open. Members respect and trust their project manager. Members respect each other Participation in the project is full time and for the entire duration of the project.

16 8. Team work There are no hard and fast rules as to which means of communication is the best. Project manager’s experience helps to determine this. Team members’ work habits and style may influence this. Organizational and environment factors may influence this. Not everyone likes , not everyone reads memos; think of a strategy that works for your case.

17 8. Team selection One of the most important responsibilities of the project manager is selecting team members. Look for competency Interpersonal skills Team work attitude Experience Rigid and narrowly focused? In high demand? Preconditioned about a technology? Difficult to manage personality? Start up is important Learn about each member

18 8. Success factors It is difficult to create a sense of ‘common vision’ when hundreds of individuals from different functional areas are involved. Breakdown the entire team and delegate responsibilities to key individuals Establish effective communications. Act as a clearing house for channeling information. Avoid information overload; not every piece of information needs to be shared. Avoid overlap and redundancy; people will stop reading after a while. Use timely, accurate, and relevant information.

19 8. Success factors Organizational culture can influence team selection and success. Assignments may be made by general managers or functional area managers. The project manager must be consulted if not the sole decision maker for selecting members. Part-time involvement should be minimized; continued commitment, loyalty, and the sense of ownership is affected. The project manager should appraise performance with the functional manager for part-time involvement; interorganizational contact and communication helps this task. The project manager must create an identify for the team.

20 8. Team development Talent pool – a list of individuals with potential to contribute to the project. Interdisciplinary list. Reference check for potential members. Potential to collaborate as well as competency. Consider habits, strengths, weaknesses, and experiences.

21 8. Team development Task pool – a list of possible activities that are expected to be carried out for the project. Provides an opportunity to the project manager to review and list tasks, task difficulty, task nature, and task overlaps. Hardware, software, equipment. Interorganizational, human resources, communication with external entities.

22 8. Team development Task-skill match – to ensure that individuals perform to the best of their abilities. Team potential is utilized; underutilization is considered poor management. Individuals like to be challenged; highly skilled individuals like challenging assignments that gives them the opportunity to contribute. Level of difficulty as well as the nature of task should be considered.

23 8. Team development Assignment – sufficient members with necessary expertise are assigned to the project. Authorizations are obtained from appropriate departments. Individuals are formally appointed to tasks and made responsible. It is clear to all members when they start, what their responsibilities are, and how long they are expected to be involved.

24 8. Team development Acquaintance – opportunity for members early in the process to get to know each other. A participative forum to understand abilities, work habits, and styles. To brainstorm the project goals and discuss innovate implementation ideas. To give the project manager an opportunity to learn about each member’s traits and determine effective ways of managing individuals.

25 8. Team development Performance – task performance and activities begin with clear triple constraints of time, cost, and focus. Work unit boundaries are defined through breakdown structure. Guidelines for performance appraisal are established. Key individuals for sub-groups are appointed and line of communication for them is established.

26 8. Project execution A systematic approach to team development like the one described above helps the project manager to establish priorities, responsibilities, and authorities. Experience, availability, suitability, and motivation must be considered; overcommitted, highly in demand, and narrowly focused individuals may not always be appropriate. Highly political individuals with misplaced loyalty and commitment are high maintenance.

27 8. Project execution Interview process can be very helpful if allowed.
Some organizations do not allow interviews of internal employees because of the rejection effect, internal politics, HR policies, and the like. Interviews may not be necessary for all members; more necessary for key individuals. Once key individuals are selected, they can help select other team members. Functional area managers can provide useful information, especially if interviews are not allowed. The bottom line is who can contribute toward goals and objectives. Seek volunteers and give everyone equal chance.

28 8. Project execution The first meeting is important for setting ground rules. The project manager must prepare to have an effective meeting. Participants must leave this meeting feeling: There is a clear need for this project; it is important. The project is doable and has a competent leader. The team is capable of delivering project objectives.

29 8. Project execution An effective meeting has a few but important characteristics. Has a beginning; prompt and orderly start Has an agenda; gives it a clear focus Has a logical flow; topics flow logically Has closure; gives a sense of accomplishment. The meeting should be just long enough to accomplish its objectives; longer meetings do not necessarily accomplish more. If necessary, plan a retreat away from work environment; requires more work and may need a moderator.

30 8. Project execution The first meeting’s agenda may include:
The project scope The project stakeholders Team information; how the team was selected The project plan; how it will be developed and who will be involved Communication and feedback channels Principle deliverables Principle milestones Team conduct and interaction Monitoring progress and quality Subsequent meetings format


32 8. Discussion question This chapter argues that an effective team exhibits a sense of trust among members as well as among members and the project manager. It argues that a sense of trust enables team members to openly discuss their ideas and their mistakes without the fear of being penalized. As a project manager, what would you do to create a sense of trust among team members?

33 8. Discussion question Sometimes individuals from functional areas work on a project for a short period of time and continue to report to their functional managers and are evaluated by them for the work they do on the project. This will result in a situation where some team members are selected and appraised by the project manager and some are appointed and appraised by functional managers. Discuss issues that such situations will raise for the team and the project manager.

34 8. Discussion question Comment on the interview with a project manager described in this chapter. What is your opinion about this response? “Again, scope changes as a result of a poor initial definition. The client’s scope definition (what they REALLY wanted doesn’t change) – the IT folks either ASSUMED incorrectly, or were not savvy enough to extract true requirements.”

35 8. Discussion question Sometimes projects fail primarily because the team does not function as an effective unit despite sufficient resources, good plans, clear scope statements, and so on. It is important that the project manager spends time and effort upfront to select individuals with appropriate characteristics to function as a team. Create a table with two columns. In the first column, list what you think are appropriate characteristics of project management team members. In the second column, describe your rational for each entry.

36 8. Discussion question Assume you are the project manager for an information system development that is authorized to integrate your organization’s inventory system with several of your vendors. You have selected a team of 25 individuals from across the organization to work with you. Draft an to your team members to attend the first project team meeting and provide them with an agenda for your meeting.

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