Project management is about people. Project management revolves around people. Networking, leading, managing and guiding. And no matter how fantastic you are at being a project manager, no matter how much project management training you have done, if you don’t have the right team, your project remains at a high risk of failure.
Sometimes you might find yourself with a team you haven’t chosen, and there are of course always ways to make the best of any situation. But if you have the chance to form your own team, how do you decide who the right people are for the job?
Choosing people is usually based on the competency of each individual, and how well they are suited to the project so never under-estimate the importance of the people in projects. But when you put each individual person into a team, how do you know that the team dynamic will work?
How important is team dynamics? Is it important to the company you work for? Will it affect the quality of the completed project?
To make sure we can guarantee every single team member works as part of a team, we must think about how we create the team in the first place, on a deeper level than just considering the core competency of each individual.
There are lots of considerations to make – does it make a difference if team members have a shared experience of project management training by the same company? Or should team selection be personality based?
In order to create an excellent team, consider why teams fail in the first instance. Consider why team dynamics can be so out of line, that they cause the project framework itself to crumble. Does it all come down to one person who is causing trouble in the team? Is it the project managers issue?
By considering all aspects of creating a team you will then be in a better position to form an excellent team. As important as it is to reflect on why a project fails, it is important to consider why a team fails as well. Could the project have succeeded if the team had a better dynamic?
Lots of businesses use something called The Hedgehog Concept to form the perfect team.
The Hedgehog Concept is based on an old Greek parable which was then applied to the modern world in an essay written by philosopher Isaiah Berlin.
He separated people into two categories – foxes and hedgehogs – with foxes being the type to have short term achievement limitations and a habit of pursuing lots of different things at the same time. Whereas the hedgehog is slow and reliable, often ignored because they don’t make much of a fuss, but they are able to focus on one goal, one vision.
So in relation to business, if you are the hedgehog or indeed if your company is the hedgehog if you can focus on one thing and do it really, really well, you have the ability to succeed against all odds and win business against your competitors.
To apply this to team creation you need to consider the three key factors of this concept in relation to team members. The three key factors are –
Recognising their passions
What makes the team member passionate at work? What spurs them on to work exceptionally hard at work, pulling in all the hours under the sun to get a project done? What excites the team member? What do they find inspiring about the company or organisations mission statement?
Recognising what they are great at, and what they can be great at
What can your team member do that is better than other team members? Are they the best at that particular job? What potential does that team member have? What project management training or team experience would bring the best out of that person?
The economic engine
Does the team member understand how to make money for the company and how to make a profit for the company? Does the team member understand the economic engine of the organisation?
By John Benson