No one is self sufficient. This is why teams are crucial in project management. Teamwork is essential for the smooth running of projects. It allows for more successful project outcomes by helping to drive the team to its goal faster and more efficiently. However, for teamwork to be effective, there has to be strong leadership, typically in form of a project manager. In this article, we will look at the importance of teams in project management and how project managers can build great teams to maximise efficiency.
How does teamwork help in project management?
The success of a project depends on the efficiency of project teams in executing the objectives and goals of a project. That said, here are some ways in which effective teamwork can help the project manager during the project management lifecycle.
- Promotes collaboration
Teamwork promotes collaboration amongst team members which can help to keep them more involved and engaged. Increased engagement is bound to increase productivity and achieve better results and which is the goal of every project manager.
- Encourages creativity
Different people working together usually means more unique ideas and diverse perspectives. This sharing of ideas promotes brainstorming which can help the project team acquire more effective strategies for completing the project.
- Builds trust
Working in a team builds trust. Trust enables the members to share their ideas freely and rely on each other. This trust lays the foundation for a healthy relationship between team members which can improve performance and increase productivity.
- Increases accountability
Teamwork gives the participants a sense of purpose which helps to make them feel accountable. Knowing that they are important to the project outcome can be empowering to the members, motivating them to do their best to see to the success of the project.
- Improves workflow speed
It’s no surprise that teamwork speeds up the progress of a project. As a project manager, even if you have all the necessary skills which is highly unlikely, it would be almost impossible to get through the amount of work that is required to complete the project before its deadline. With a team, not only is this achievable, your time is also freed up to enable you attend to more important project activities.
How to select great team members and build a successful team as a project manager
As a project manager, building a great project team should be your primary responsibility. However, developing a collaborative, productive and highly efficient team is not without challenges. Read on to learn how you can scale the challenges to build a team with great members and working in positions that will put their skills to most effective use.
- Have a plan in place
First things first, you need to put together a plan that will guide your selection process. What project are you going to be working on? What is the goal of the project and how will the team achieve this goal? Are there specific skills required for the project? What roles would need to be filled? When is the deadline for the project? The answers to these questions will help you define the project requirements and the people that can handle those requirements.
- Select team members
With an understanding of the framework of the project, you can then begin to recruit your team. Your team members are responsible for operations that will progress the project so you have to ensure you recruit the best people available to you. When picking members, analyse the skills and personality of the prospective members. Ensure that the skills of the members complement one another as well.
Look out for people that show integrity, trustworthiness and have great interpersonal skills. Project management is a highly collaborative field so you will need to look at each person individually and as a part of a team. Also, depending on the nature of the project, especially where you need expertise that is not available in your organization, you can recruit fresh talents outside the company to ensure you have an expert team for the project.
Skills you need as a project manager to build a great team
Building a great project team that will follow and support you is not easy. There are certain leadership skills and personal characteristics every project manager must develop to lead a committed team for successful project management. Below are some of those skills.
- Task delegation
It is important for project managers to know how to delegate tasks correctly. The best team is one where each member works in a position that matches their individual competencies. Proper task delegation promotes efficiency and allows for more effective collaboration between the team members.
An ability to communicate effectively with your team is an essential skill every project manager must have. Effective communication ensures that members are kept up-to-date with vital information so that everyone feels like a part of the team. It also encourages collaboration and builds trust within the project management team.
Your team members are likely to make inadvertent mistakes. When this happens, as the manager, you must present yourself as a mentor, someone who has their back at all times. The assurance that comes with having a mentor in you will encourage them to be fully committed to the project and give it their best shot.
- Decision making
It is the responsibility of the project manager to set goals and instructions for the team. These instructions guide the operations of the team members and ensure that the entire team is on the same page in working towards achieving the project’s goal.
How to transform a struggling team to a successful one
It is almost impossible to put different individuals in a team and hope they work in complete harmony until the end of the project. The team may struggle at some point and as a project manager, here’s how you can identify and resolve issues.
- No clear purpose
Goals motivate people. If your team doesn’t have a clear understanding of the purpose of the job, they are likely to be less committed to it which might result in poor performance. So if you notice a reduction in the quality of performance, you might want to reinforce the importance of the project to re-energize the team.
- No project leadership
Project managers are accountable for their team’s performance and in the absence of effective leadership, your team might struggle. To drive performance and collaboration, as a project manager, you’ll need to establish responsibility and accountability, manage any conflict that arises, delegate tasks to suitable members and communicate efficiently among other things.
- Poorly defined roles
Teamwork is about utilizing individual skills in various roles to get stuff done. However, in the absence of clearly defined roles and responsibilities, nothing might get done. To help the team out, project managers should ensure that every team member knows their role as well as the responsibilities that come with such role. Remember teamwork is focused on how the members function as a team and less about who they are.
- Unclear communication
According to studies, ‘equal conversational taking’ is a vital habit of successful teams. Creating a communication strategy to support regular interaction can help resolve poor communication in the team. This can be through emails, meetings, reports, and presentations. Also, try to give everyone on your team a voice to avoid having one sided conversations dominated by the bolder personalities.
How project managers can empower their teams
Great project managers do not just build teams, they also engage and motivate the members to help empower them. Project managers can empower their teams through giving them opportunities to grow and develop their skills and capabilities. Organize project meetings, encourage your people to speak up and interact to ensure that everyone’s clear on project status and expectations. Also, when your team’s performance is poor, when giving criticism, instead of presenting it as a problem to be fixed, present it as an opportunity to improve. With a project team empowered to succeed, the project is likely to be a success as well.
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