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About us!!
Subject Outline
Introduction & Definition
History of Project Management
Project Management Steps
Work Breakdown Structure
Team Development
Project Control & Management
Critical Path Scheduling
What are Time-Oriented Management Techniques?
Project Management Time-Cost Trade-Off
PERT and CPM:Differences

Team Development


Increasingly, attention is being focused on the quality of the interpersonal dynamics within project teams as the crucial factor in understanding and influencing project management productivity. The working relationships among the members of a team not only can affect the team's productivity but also the performance of the team in relation to its support groups and its client.

Projects have dramatically increased in complexity and there has been a corresponding need for a diverse skill-mix on project teams. The existence of project complexity and skill-mix diversity can complicate the smooth running of a project team. In addition, increasingly stringent project performance requirements are mandating a high level, sustained cooperative effort within teams. One R&D project manager in a technology based company made this comment about the necessity of developing high performance teams.

Our projects are more complex than ever. Often, we are pushing the state-of-the-art. Much of the time we are headed into uncharted waters. As one can imagine, we make mistakes and have to retract our efforts. We have several contributors with highly diverse backgrounds, work styles, and professional views. My job is to get all the brains and energy focused in the right direction; help the team work cooperatively; and sustain the momentum.

As this comment suggests, the need to develop and manage project teams effectively is a major task for project leaders. In fact, the difference between successful and unsuccessful project performance can often be linked to the effectiveness of the team process. This process includes the transformation of a group of individuals with different needs, background, and experience, into a unified work unit.2


We define "team development" as the process of helping a group of individuals, bound by a common purpose to work more effectively with (l) each other, (2) the leadership group, and (3) relevant external groups and organizations. Emphasis on team development can help a project group's problem-solving capacity -- immediate problems can be resolved and the team can "learn" how to deal with new problems as they occur.

The "learning" part of team development is the most significant component of the process. Learning helps a team anticipate and minimize or avoid problems. When a team has "learned how to learn," it can operate at a far higher level of efficiency and effectiveness than a team which simply "reacts" to internal or external events.3


Several team attributes indicate the need for development:

- There is excessive "wheel-spining" within the team.

- Team performance is slipping but no one knows why.

- Decisions once made remain unimplemented.

- Objectives are unclear or they are not accepted by team members.

- The team leader encounters detrimental surprises.

- Team members are unresponsive or apathetic to the needs of the team or the project.

- Team meetings are unproductive, full of conflict, and demoralizing.

- Team members withdraw into their own areas of responsibility and avoid needed cooperation.

- Problem-solving activity, like "constructive conflict," is avoided.

- Poor motivation and apathy.

- Schedule slippages, quality problems and consequent cost escalations develop.

The foregoing list cites the major symptoms of poorly functioning, ineffective teams. In order to rectify such blocks to high team performance, the process of "team development" will be examined.


We propose a multidimensional framework to guide the project team development process. As is the case with any model, the one which we will put forth cannot be considered universal or all inclusive. The model, however, does account for many of the factors intrinsic to highly effective teamwork.

Our team development model is based on our experiences with several team building assignments, the team development literature, and our prior research. In addition, we interviewed 25 project managers and team members in 15 technology-based companies. These exploratory interviews focused on the project leader's or team member's experience with various team development approaches; factors which affect team productivity; and the concerns of both team leaders and team members.

In reviewing the model, it is important to note that, while the model's flow is presented sequentially, some of the phases may overlap or occur concurrently. It should also be noted that, due to the intermittent appearance of problems and project challenges, many of the activities cited in the model must be repeated or updated several times during the life of a project as new problems and challenges develop. The "team development" model is presented in Figure 1.

As the model indicates, "team development" is composed of task and process activities. Tasks include such activities as establishing goals, defining and negotiating roles, and defining procedures. The following seven task activities are included in the model and will be discussed in detail.

  1. Recruiting of team members
  2. Climate setting for team development
  3. Goal setting
  4. Role clarification
  5. Procedure development
  6. Decision-making
  7. Control

Process activities include the interpersonal activities necessary to accomplish tasks. For example, the tasks of establishing goals and defining roles require a process activity like intensive communications among team members. Other process activities are resolving conflict, listening, providing psychological support, exerting power, encouraging participation and involvement, and gaining commitment.

The remainder of our paper will focus on analyzing the elements of the "Team Development" model. Throughout the model both task and process issues will be explored.


In Tracy Kidder's excellent book The Soul of a New Machine, the process the project manager uses to get team members to "sign-on" is discussed in considerable detail. Signing-on is the result of the project leader's efforts to recruit needed team members. The more qualified the people and the more they have "a fire in their bellies" the higher the likelihood that the project leader will have the ingredients for a high performance team. The process of signing-on is clearly illustrated by this quote:

There was it appeared, a mysterious rite of initiation through which, in one way or another, almost every member of the team passed. The term that the old hands used for this rite -- West invested the term, not the practice -- was "Signing up." By signing up for the project you agreed to do whatever was necessary for success...From a manager's point of view, the practical virtues of the ritual were manifold. Labor was no longer coerced. Labor volunteered. When you signed up you in effect declared, "I want to do this job and I'll give it my heart and soul."4

The same factors which can encourage team members to sign-on also can be used to develop interest in investing in team development activities. These factors can be the excitement of the project, the opportunity to work with an excellent team, or the opportunity to expand one's own work experiences can knowledge. We maintain that the effective project leader will determine what motivates each team member as early in the project as possible

When project team members are assigned to the team versus selected by the project leader, the same signing-on principles apply. The project leader, however, often must take an even more active role in creating excitement and enthusiasm for the project. Obviously, for the project leader with a proven track record and who is charismatic the task is easier. One project manager who could not directly select his team members discussed his signing-on process this way:

We don't select our team members. They are assigned to us by the functional managers. Some of them want to participate on the project and are glad to be here. There'll be others, however, who are reluctant and will need some selling about the project. For both kinds of team members I discuss the importance of the project, what it will take to be successful, why they can made a difference, and then ask for their concerns. What I'm after is a mental commitment from them that they want to be part of this team.

Signing-on is a state of mind. If people are not mentally prepared and ready for a tough project, they are not likely to invest in team development activities.


After the team has been recruited, one of the most critical phases of the team development process involves "setting the climate" for project team development. The climate which is set for team members is one which stimulates them to help their team function more effectively. While the climate setting process usually originates with the project leader, it may also be initiated by one or more team members.

In the climate setting process, the following approaches can be used to begin the team development process:

- A discussion with the team regarding the need for high performance and how team development can contribute to this goal by helping the team learn new ways to work together.

- The project leader or perhaps a team member can demonstrate the need for team development by discussing potential benefits and giving examples where team development activities can increase overall team performance.

- A discussion with individual team members regarding professional growth opportunities which can result from team development activities.

One project manager experienced in team development discussed the "climate setting" approach he used this way:

When I start a new project the first thing I do is talk to each team member about what the broad objectives of the project are and what I think it will take to meet them in terms of a highly coordinated team effort. I then ask them what they think will help promote an effective work environment. I'll make a mental note of what's important to them. I'll then call the whole group together to discuss what I've found. They add to the list, change some of the suggestions, and argue about others. Then we discuss the issues and how they relate to team and individual performance. For those suggestions where there's clear agreement, we adopt them as basic operating principles. Where we disagree about a suggestion we'll either discuss it further or drop it. The important thing about these early meetings is that the team members know they are making an investment in the future of the team. As things start working, then the whole process is reinforced.

It is important to emphasize that one of the important factors in climate-setting is the feeling of team member that they have some power and influence over the project's direction and management. One team member put it this way:

Everyone wants to feel like they have some influence over what's happening to them. In a team building program, there aren't a lot of incentives for me unless I feel like may ideas will be heard, evaluated, and sometimes accepted.

As the above suggests, power sharing helps set a climate for team development activities.


The goal-setting process is one of the most significant steps in developing an effective team. Confusion, stress, and consequently ineffectiveness results if goals are not clear and explicit so as to be understood and accepted by the team. The process of setting clear goals is important for several reasons:

- Clear goals help establish priorities the team.

- Clear goals help build team identity and team membership.

- Clear goals help define the problems that must be addressed to achieve project completion.

- Clear goals become the basis for action and for developing a sense of shared responsibilities.

The goal-sharing phase involves reaching agreement within the team regarding the broad purposes of the project as well as the specific goals to be accomplished.

We recommend a two-step approach to goal clarification. The first step involves a discussion by the team on the general mission of the team. Such questions as the following can be helpful in the goal clarification phase:

  • What are the basic goals of this project?
  • What should occur by the end of the project?
  • What are the client's expectations?
  • What does senior management expect?

The more complex the project, the more important this step becomes. We have found that in complex projects various team members with functional expertise can discuss the various technical goals the project needs to achieve. One project manager described the phase as follows:

When we get ready to launch a project we get the team together to discuss the big picture. This helps us get everyone up to speed once it minimizes misconceptions which may develop. It also can be an exciting time because we're talking about creating something and that usually gets everyone's adrenalin moving.

The second step involves establishing specific goals, milestones, and targets. This step breaks the project into relevant subsystems and work packages. For each subsystem and work package, goals need to be established and linked to functional departments and/or project team members.

Working together, the team can find those areas where goals overlap or conflict. If such overlaps or conflicts do exist, they can be worked out via negotiation within the team. This step can avoid frustration later since it reduces the likelihood of goal confusion. Such confusion can block goal attainment and lead to frustration and apathy.

There are three areas which can be problematic in setting clear goals within the team:

- The individual team members may not understand the goals or scope of the project.

- Conflict over goals may exist between the project team and functional support groups.

- The client may not understand clearly the goals of the project or in a more active role, the client may confuse itself as well as others if it continually initiates changes in goals.

To minimize or avoid such problems, a number of suggestions for dealing with each area are presented in Table 1.

Table 1

Suggestions to Assist in the Goal Clarification Process

Goal Clarification with Individual Team Members

- Discuss overall project goals

- Develop specific goals with team members

- Document agreements

- Circulate agreements

- Monitor progress

Goal Clarification with Functional Support Groups

- Communicate to reach agreement on goals

- Document agreements

- Circulate agreements

- Follow-up on additional issues which need clarifying or negotiating - Monitor deviations from goals

Goal Clarification with Client

- Review proposed contract (or signed contract, if in effect) and other relevant project documentation

- Develop an understanding Or the client's goals

- Meet with the client and Test the understanding

- Work on any differences which exist

- Confirm goals

- Follow up on additional agreements

- Monitor deviations from goals


Once goals have been defined, the next step is to define the roles and responsibilities of team members and support groups. Roles are concerned with who does what on the project. Role clarification reduces, if not eliminates completely, one major area for team members' frustration, conflict and poor performance.

Roles have two components: the first defines what a project team members needs to do individually while the second details how the member's responsibilities affect or coordinate with another member's or groups' responsibilities.

Some of the advantages to the project team of clear roles are the following:

- Responsibilities and tasks can be linked to goals.

- Coordination and interface plans can be developed more easily.

- Project tasks are easier to assign and track.

- Performance can be measured more easily.

We recommend that the following steps be considered in assigning roles within a project team:

- Identify the expertise and capability of each team member.

- Whenever feasible, match team members to specific tasks.

- Ask team members to examine the assigned tasks and to identify and plan the action steps necessary for task completion.

- Identify role conflicts among team members (and between the team and support groups).

- Negotiate and resolve the identified conflicts.

Examples of early or initial role conflicts include:

- Two team members have overlapping responsibilities.

- The project team and a functional support group disagree over which is responsible for a specific task.

- A team member and the project leader disagree over task responsibilities.

It is important for a project team to develop a process for negotiating and resolving role conflicts. We suggest holding one or more sessions where team members can discuss the following:

- What do I need from others to perform my role?

- What should I know about other roles to help me perform my role more effectively?

- Are our roles likely to conflict? How? When?

- How will roles change over the project life cycle? How are these changes likely to affect me and my support of the efforts of others and the team?

A role clarification meeting can be held where each team member has the opportunity to discuss these questions with the other team members. The earlier this meeting occurs, the more likely serious conflicts over roles can be minimized or avoided.

Team members as well as the project leader should be aware of the following forms of role conflict:

- Role ambiguity occurs when a team member is not clear about his or her task responsibilities.

- Role conflict occurs when two or more managers or support personnel have differing expectations of a team member.

- Role overload occurs when project personnel are swamped by too many different responsibilities.

We recommend that each team member be made aware of the role problem typology given above. If a problem exists, the team members should discuss it with the project leader or a consultant to the team. In the discussion the conflict should be explored fully, negotiated completely and, thereby, resolved satisfactorily. In role overload situations, where there is little organizational slack in terms of resources, little may be accomplished in the negotiation process. The project team member, however, is likely to appreciate the fact that the conflict was recognized and evaluated for possible resolution.


The next phase in team development is establishing project team operating procedures. Operating procedures promote team efficiency by helping to handle key project requirements as they come due. Typical project team operating procedures are:

- Client contact guidelines

- Personnel assignments

- Procurement

- Document and Routing Distribution Information

- Status meetings

- Performance, cost, schedule tracking

- Project accounting

- Administrative

Operating procedures also serve to minimize internal and external conflicts.

While the use of effective operating procedures eliminate a multitude of teamwork effectiveness blocks, the procedures may also present some problems:

- Project procedures may conflict with other group's procedures, e.g., the client or the "host" corporation.

- Lack of team involvement in the formulation of key procedures can lead to little or half-hearted acceptance.

- The adoption of inappropriate procedures or the continued use of outdated procedures may occur .

- Lack of training regarding specific procedures and their role in project management.

There are two sets of procedures needed for well-run project teams. The first set coordinates with the larger internal organization and with the client organization. The second set assists the team in achieving smooth, internal working relationships. Examples of the latter type of operating procedures include:

- Procedures for conducting monthly progress meeting.

- Procedures for dealing with conflicts among team members.

- Procedures for reassigning team members and resources to other pressing project needs.

- Procedures for disseminating information within the team among support groups.

With regard to the "team development" process, we encourage early team discussion of the more formal, organizationally-required procedures. This discussion should include an exploration of potential procedures conflicts between the larger organization and the client. Adjustments can then be made where possible.

To develop the team's information operating procedures, several questions can be answered by team brainstorming"

- What role can informal team procedures play in achieving team effectiveness?

- What are the operating procedures we want to use?

- How will the selected procedures affect performance?

- How will the selected procedures affect the internal working environment of the team, that is, the quality of the team's work life?

- How can the selected procedures be implemented and evaluated?

Effective operating procedures help the team anticipate and deal with both routine and non-route issues. One set of procedures helps the team relate to its "external and formal" world while a second set of procedures help a team function internally. Both sets are essential for high team performance. Consequently, the procedures should be considered carefully before and during implementation.


Once the team is clear about the team mission and goals; the roles which will be performed by team members; and the procedures which will be used internally and externally, we recommend one or two team sessions be devoted to the decision-making processes the team will follow.

Some project decisions are relatively simple and straight-forward. An example of a rather straightforward decision-making situation is when an individual team member makes a decision in an area of minimal impact to other team members and in which he or she has the requisite knowledge and expertise. A somewhat different situation occurs when two or more team members, responsible for a work package or a project subsystem, must make numerous decisions--some which affect team members and other project areas and some which do not.

Some decisions can and will affect the entire project team. In such situations it is important to have the team involved to assess the individual-specific as well as the team impact of the decision. In order to assure team decision-making, we recommend a consensus-seeking process so that every team member has an opportunity to influence the final decision (by presenting logical arguments, facts, and other supporting data). Recall, however, that consensus-seeking does not mean that every team member agrees with the final decision.

Four advantages of consensus-seeking decision-making processes are:

- Creative decision options are likely to be generated in the process.

- Ideas which are independently suggested might be combined to produce problem-solving synergy.

- Everyone on the team has an opportunity to influence the final decision.

- Team members are likely to feel a high degree of involvement which can lead to commitment to the final decision.

Other decisions require joint decision-making between the project team and another group, such as, another functional department within the team's corporate setting or the team's client.

For decisions which affect project performance variables, we suggest using a problem-solving method which entails: (l) specifying the problem; (2) sharing relevant information; (3) establishing alternatives; and, finally (4) making a decision. This method is greatly affected by the degree of trust and openness between groups. Every effort must be made to present objective information; to evaluate fairly

the agreement of another group; and to build slowly a working relationship wherein problem-solving can occur. As trust develops, the inter-group decision-making process is likely to improve. One project engineer explained this process as follows:

We've had many, many problems dealing with our engineering group. They've been hard nosed about everything when it comes to working through problems with them. They like to put us on the defensive by asking us to explain our logic and why we want to do it this way or that way. Their initial response to our request is often, "We can't do that," or "That won't work!" After a while, we stopped doing what we were doing and learned to develop some rapport with them by listening and asking them about their problems. As a result they've started responding to our requests in a more positive sense. Consequently, we're slowly developing a relationship with them that's becoming conducive to real problem-solving.

As the project engineer reveals, his team learned their dealings with the engineering department were not working. Rather than continuing with the same approach, the team changed to a more productive mode. The team's new approach lowered the defensiveness of the engineering group so that real information exchange and consequent productive results occurred.

Barriers To Decision-Making

There are a number of barriers to team decision-making. The barriers presented in Table 2 are certainly not all-inclusive but they do represent some of the more common blocks to effective decision-making. In addition to identifying important barriers, Table 2 contains suggestions on ways to minimize or avoid each barrier.

As a team development exercise, we suggest that project teams hold periodic meetings to identify those factors which block their own decision-making effectiveness. Once the barriers are identified, solutions can then be proposed.

Barriers to Effective Decision-Making

Lack of Information about a Problem

Suggestions for Minimizing Or Avoiding the Barrier

- Seek Expert Help Ask Open-Ended Questions Brainstorm for Additional Information

- Identify what is is Known and What Is Not Known

Have Clearly Defined Purposes and Priorities Keep Problem-Solving Efforts Focused Provide for Concurrent Solution Seeking by Having Team Members Explore Various Aspects Or the Problem

different experiences to the process. Unless attention is paid to these differences the team is likely to experience difficulties. One problem-solving model we find useful is illustrated in Figure 2.

A Problem-Solving Framework

We recommend a problem-solving approach that can help maximize the contributions of various team members. As Vaill suggests, the manner in which a team goes about problem-solving is fundamental to everything it does. Team members often bring

The first problem-solving phase involves Problem Situation Analysis. This requires understand;ng t e pro em context or environment. What is causing the problem? Who is involved? Is it a routine or non-routine problem? What has been the organization's experience in handling similar situations? We find that an analysis of the problem's situational factors is often given short shrift in problem-solving. This can lead to mistakes in problem identification.

The second phase in our problem-solving framework is Defining the Problem. This involves determining what the problem is and what it is not. It is important to point out that defining the problem is identifying the real problem--not its symptoms. While "defining the problem" appears to be an obvious problem-solving step to take, the importance of identifying the problem appears to be an obvious problem-solving step to take the importance of identifying the problem correctly cannot be overemphasized. Distinguishing between a problem and its symptoms is crucial to accuracy in problem-solving.

The next phase, Seeking Information about the Problem, requires looking at the problem creatively and generating ideas concerning what information is needed to solve the problem. The results of the preceding two phases of problem-solving can be maximized if a climate is established within the team that promotes the free flow of ideas and information. Now that information has been generated about the "problem," the next phase of the model, Developing Alternatives for Solving the Problem can be implemented. A particular problem may be solved by more than one approach.

Once the team believes it has a sufficient number of alternatives from which to choose, it can proceed to the next phase, Selecting an Appropriate Problem-Solving Alternative. A number of criteria can be used in selecting the most appropriate problem-solving alternative. We consider the following to be particularly useful:

The Length of Time Required to Implement Each Alternative

The Cost of Implementing Each Alternative

The Staffing and Expertise Required by Each Alternative

The Risk Potential of Each Alternative

The Implementation Phase involves putting the selected alternative into practice. An important step in this phase is establishing who is responsible for what and when should it be completed. Follow-up is critical in this phase in order to keep problem-solving on course. The final phase of the problem-solving process in Monitoring and Reviewing Progress. It is during this phase that the project team determines if the results achieved-to-date coincide with the results anticipated. If not, corrective action needs to be undertaken. We would like to point out that in addition to deriving important learning from interim reviews of problem-solving progress, these learnings can often be transferred to other project situations.

We also suggest that the problem-solving process can be enhanced by using the team's talent more effectively. Unfortunately, the problem-solving process is often seen as a logical, linear system. Research suggests however that the problem-solving process often does not follow the linear, logical flow approach. As a consequence, potentially important ideas and information never get considered. Nugent addresses this point as follows:

Over recent years, organizations have increasingly used groups to bring multiple resources to bear on complex problems and to increase commitment through greater participation in decision making. However, inattention to the implications of cognitive style differences among group members often leads to inefficient group functioning and intragroup conflict.

There is an emerging body of theory that suggests that "right brain" and "left brain" thinking can be sued effectively in team problem-solving.' Right brain thinkers tend to be creative, holistic, and spontaneous. Left brain thinkers are logical, quantitative, and sequential in their though processes (see Table 3). In terms of the problem-solving model we propose, the project leader should make certain that right brain thinkers contribute fully in the early phases of the problem-solving model. Right brain thinking or creative thinking can be particularly helpful in "Giving Information about the Problem," and "Developing Alternatives."

Left brain thinking can be particularly helpful in "Selecting Alternatives," "Implementation" and "Monitoring and Reviewing Progress." How can a project leader determine who are the right and left brain team members" We suggest the following approaches:

Observe how team members respond to brainstorming situations. Larry is often uncomfortable with the ambiguity and opendedness of brainstorming. It's difficult for him not to evaluate what's "right" and what's "wrong." Rob, on the other hand, is comfortable with the creativeness and the spontaneity involved in brainstorming. He enjoys the freedom and the non-commitment which is part of the brainstorming process.

Listen to what different team members talk about in various team situations. Larry enjoys discussing specific project details and how identified problems can be solved. In fact, Larry is often adamant that his approaches are superior to the other suggested approaches. Rob appears more open to alternatives and he will often initiate a brainstorming session when a problem is encountered.

Observe team members' ability and comfortableness in carrying out tasks with varying degrees of direction. For example, Larry is far more comfortable when he knows what is expected and is able to clearly see an approach for accomplishing the task. By contrast, Rob wants to know what the desired end result should be but wants a free rein in accomplishing these objectives. Larry is exemplifying left brain behavior while Rob is demonstrating right brain thinking.

The development of a highly effective team requires identifying the talents and capabilities of each team member. We believe that identifying the team's "right" and "left" brain thinkers is an important step toward attaining effective team problem-solving.


The effort which goes into setting goals, negotiating roles and responsibilities, developing project team procedures, and designing team decision-making processes will not pay off unless adequate controls are established to keep the team on track. We strongly suggest that controls be discussed early in the life of the team so that team members are clearly aware of the controls which will be used.discussions on what controls to use can be an important team building process. It can serve as an important vehicle for getting team members to place importance upon effective controls and to assume their role in making controls work.

Some of the most common barriers to developing and using project team controls include:

Lack of clear goals

Shifting goals and priorities

Lack of involvement and commitment to goals

Role conflicts

Responsibility without authority

Poor project team communication

Fear of evaluation

Poor supervision and lack of follow-up

Not making "control" a team priority

Not establishing clear criteria for control

Unwillingness to confront team members who are not performing

We recommend such traditional project control methods and processes as regular status review meetings, critical path methods, and variance analysis. In addition, it can be highly productive for a team to examine its own internal operating processes since they affect project control directly and indirectly. For example, it can be useful for the team to discuss periodically the following issues:

What do we do well as a team?

Where can be improve our performance? What are our strengths? Weaknesses? Who can implement these changes? When?

How do we deal with support groups? Do our relationships need improving? Changing?

How do we deal with the client? What areas need changing?

What factors keep us from achieving a higher performance level?

Follow-up is a critical factor in the on-going success of such review meetings. When problems and concerns are identified, they need to be analyzed and acted upon. Otherwise interest in controlling and improving team performance will wane quickly.


The paper presented a model describing the basic components and functions of project team development. In addition to the specific insight into the behavioral and managerial processes of team building, a number of suggestions can be derived from the broader context of this research. These suggestions can potentially increase the effectiveness of the project team and ultimately improve overall project performance.

1. Project managers must understand the various barriers to team development and build a work environment conducive to the team's motivational needs. Specifically, management should watch out for the following barriers: (l) disinterested team members, (2) uninvolved management, (3) unclear goals and priorities, (4) funding uncertainty, (5) role conflict and power struggle (6) incompetent project leadership, (7) lack of project charter, (8) insufficient planning and project definition, (9) poor communication and (10) excessive conflict, especially personal conflict.

2. During the team formation stage, management must define the basic team structure and operating concepts. The project charter and policy/procedure guidelines are the principal tools.

3. Assure that all parties understand the overall and interdisciplinary project objectives. Clear and frequent communication with senior management and the client becomes critically important. Status review meetings can be used for feedback.

4. Project leadership positions should be carefully defined and staffed at the beginning of the team formation stage. Key project personnel selection is the responsibility of senior management. The credibility of project leaders among team members, with senior management, and with the customer/sponsor community is crucial to the project leaders ability to manage multidisciplinary activities effectively across functional lines.

5. All project assignments should be negotiated individually with each prospective team member. Each task leader should be responsible for staffing his or her own task team. Where dual-reporting relationships are involved, staffing should be conducted jointly between the two managers. The assignment interview should include a clear discussion of the specific task, the outcome, timing, responsibilities, reporting relations, potential rewards, and the importance of the project to the company. Task assignments should only be made if the candidate's ability is a reasonable match to the position requirements and the candidate shows a healthy degree of interest in the project.

6. The project manager should involve at least all key personnel in the project definition and requirements analysis. This involvement will lead to a better understanding of the task requirements, stimulate interest, help to unify the interest, help to unify the team, and ultimately lead to commitment to the project plan, regarding technical performance, timing, and budgets. Effective planning early in the life cycle of a project is crucial because project personnel have to integrate various disciplines across functional lines. Insufficient planning may eventually lead to interdepartmental conflict, discontinuities in the work flow, deterioration of team spirit and ultimately poor team performance.

7. The project manager, through his or her task leaders, should facilitate communications among team members, to and from senior management, and the customer/sponsor community. The tools for enhancing communication are regularly scheduled project review meetings, management briefings, as well as project planning and tracking activities.

8. Conduct team building sessions throughout the project lifecycle. An especially intense effort might be needed during the team formation stage. The team is being brought together in a relaxed atmosphere to discuss such questions as:

How are we operating as a team? What's positive? Where can we improve? What steps are needed to initiate the desired change?

What problems and issue are we likely to face in the future? Which of these can be avoided by taking appropriate action now? How can we "danger-proof" the team?

What changes need to be undertaken in the team's climate? -- in modifying goals and roles? -- in the team's operating procedures? -- and in its decision-making processes? Are we controlling the team's progress adequately?

9. Try to determine lack of team member commitment early in the life of his project and attempt to change possible negative views toward the project. Often, insecurity is a major reason for the lack of commitment; try to determine why insecurity exists, then work on reducing the team members' fears. Conflict with other team members may be another reason for lack of commitment. It is important for the project leader to intervene and mediate the conflict quickly. Finally, if a team member's professional interests lie elsewhere, the project leader should examine ways to satisfy part of the team member's interests or consider replacement.

10. Project leaders must maintain the continued interest and commitment of senior management in their projects. This support is an absolute necessity for dealing effectively with interface groups and continued resource commitment. We suggest that senior management become an integral part of project reviews. Equally important, it is critical for senior management to provide the proper environment for the project to function effectively. Here the project leader needs to tell management at the onset of the program what resources are needed. The project manager's relationship with senior management and ability to develop senior management support is critically affected by his own credibility and the visibility and priority of his project.

11. Watch for changes in performance on an on-going basis. If performance problems are observed, discuss them with the team. In this way, problems can be dealt with quickly. If the project manager has access to internal or external organization development specialists, they can help diagnose team problems and assist the team in dealing with the identified problems. These specialists can also bring fresh ideas and perspectives to difficult, and sometimes emotional, team situations.

12. Over the life of a project, the problems encountered by the project team are likely to change and as old problems are identified and solved, new ones will emerge. We recommend that a high degree of effort be focused on problem avoidance in the entire process. That is, the project leader, through experience, should recognize potential problems and conflicts at their onset and deal with them before they become big and their resolutions consume a large amount of time and effort.

13. Finally, the project managers can influence the work climate and the team development process by their own actions. Concern for project team members, the ability to integrate the personal goals and needs of project personnel with project goals, and the ability to create personal enthusiasm for the work itself can foster a climate which is high in motivation, work involvement, open communication, and resulting project performance.


The Team Development Model presented in this paper is an attempt to establish a basic framework for analyzing project team developments. The model breaks down the complexities of the multidimensional process. The concept should help both the professionals who must operate in a project-oriented environment as well as the scholars who study and research contemporary organizational concepts to understand the intricate relations and dynamics of the team building process and its effects on overall project performance.

With increasing task complexity, we see a great need for team development technologies in the future. We believe the model and framework presented here provide an important step toward meeting that need.