Know Your Team, Minimize Risk

Resource requirements at the project level are some of the most difficult decisions a Project Manager will make in their career. If you can develop a high quality, consistent process for choosing your team you will improve your ability to deliver success over and over again.

In a project centric organization the project manager has the best chance of success because the resource requirements are part of the planning phase and as such the best team players can be chosen by the PM. In a matrix environment however the PM is assigned resources by the manager of the respective departments. The resource in this case is usually someone the manager can spare from operations and as such you will not always get the best aligned resource. This adds complexity to the project because more time needs to be spent on developing the team.

Logixsource just completed a highly complex assignment concentrating on IT Asset Management. It was a projectized assignment but the PM didn’t have the opportunity to choose the team. The team was cherry picked by the managing partner, the best in their field, because the entire project was delivered in four weeks. In a project with longer duration, the team would go through the four phases of development: Forming, Storming, Norming and Performing. The team barely had enough time to enter the “storming” phase of team development. The managing partner is trusted by all the team players independently. They had never worked on the same project before but because of the trust the team had in the leader they were able to skip the storming stage and move right to the performing stage.

Once the direction had been set and assignments had been delivered, the rest was left to the team to deliver. The project team began to gel and to discuss the solution together. The project was delivered on-time with an extraordinarily high level of quality. When left to deliver the final product as a team, they were able to leave their egos at the door and work together.

This was truly amazing to observe and be involved in. There have been many projects in the past that have failed because the team never moved through the stages of team development. While there are no distinct time allocations for each stage, a good PM can move the team through the stages at an accelerated pace if need be, understanding that any phase that is skipped will increase risk.
When asked for their opinion of the project and the team one resource added the following comment:

“The Managing Partner knew her team members well and their ability to fit. I believe one of the keys was the PM’s leadership – she kept everyone focused, supported her team, and allowed flexibility and empowerment throughout the process. It may have appeared seamless, but group awareness on the part of her leadership was key.”

Our Team Leadership training concentrates on communication, vision, motivation, team building and organizational skills. Contact Heather Cartwright or Scott Savage to learn how you can become a great leader.

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