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.
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
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.
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
DEFINITION OF TEAM DEVELOPMENT
"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.
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
INDICATORS OF TEAMS REQUIRING TEAM DEVELOPMENT
team attributes indicate the need for development:
is excessive "wheel-spining" within the team.
performance is slipping but no one knows why.
once made remain unimplemented.
are unclear or they are not accepted by team members.
team leader encounters detrimental surprises.
members are unresponsive or apathetic to the needs of the team or the project.
meetings are unproductive, full of conflict, and demoralizing.
members withdraw into their own areas of responsibility and avoid needed cooperation.
activity, like "constructive conflict," is avoided.
motivation and apathy.
slippages, quality problems and consequent cost escalations develop.
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.
A TEAM DEVELOPMENT MODEL
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.
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.
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.
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.
- Recruiting of team members
- Climate setting for team development
- Goal setting
- Role clarification
- Procedure development
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.
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.
PHASE 1. THE RECRUITING AND "SIGNING-ON' PROCESS
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:
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
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
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:
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
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
PHASE 2. SETTING THE CLIMATE FOR TEAM DEVELOPMENT
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.
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.
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.
manager experienced in team development discussed the "climate setting" approach he used this way:
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.
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:
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.
above suggests, power sharing helps set a climate for team development activities.
PHASE 3. 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:
goals help establish priorities the team.
goals help build team identity and team membership.
goals help define the problems that must be addressed to achieve project completion.
goals become the basis for action and for developing a sense of shared responsibilities.
phase involves reaching agreement within the team regarding the broad purposes of the project as well as the specific goals
to be accomplished.
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?
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:
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.
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.
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.
are three areas which can be problematic in setting clear goals within the team:
individual team members may not understand the goals or scope of the project.
over goals may exist between the project team and functional support groups.
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.
or avoid such problems, a number of suggestions for dealing with each area are presented in Table 1.
Suggestions to Assist in the Goal Clarification Process
Clarification with Individual Team Members
overall project goals
specific goals with team members
Clarification with Functional Support Groups
to reach agreement on goals
on additional issues which need clarifying or negotiating - Monitor deviations from goals
proposed contract (or signed contract, if in effect) and other relevant project documentation
an understanding Or the client's goals
with the client and Test the understanding
on any differences which exist
up on additional agreements
- Monitor deviations from
PHASE 4. ROLE CLARIFICATION
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.
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.
the advantages to the project team of clear roles are the following:
and tasks can be linked to goals.
and interface plans can be developed more easily.
tasks are easier to assign and track.
can be measured more easily.
that the following steps be considered in assigning roles within a project team:
the expertise and capability of each team member.
feasible, match team members to specific tasks.
team members to examine the assigned tasks and to identify and plan the action steps necessary for task completion.
role conflicts among team members (and between the team and support groups).
and resolve the identified conflicts.
of early or initial role conflicts include:
team members have overlapping responsibilities.
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.
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:
do I need from others to perform my role?
should I know about other roles to help me perform my role more effectively?
our roles likely to conflict? How? When?
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?
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.
as well as the project leader should be aware of the following forms of role conflict:
ambiguity occurs when a team member is not clear about his or her task responsibilities.
conflict occurs when two or more managers or support personnel have differing expectations of a team member.
overload occurs when project personnel are swamped by too many different responsibilities.
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.
PHASE 5. DEVELOPMENT PROCEDURES
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:
and Routing Distribution Information
cost, schedule tracking
procedures also serve to minimize internal and external conflicts.
the use of effective operating procedures eliminate a multitude of teamwork effectiveness blocks, the procedures may also
present some problems:
procedures may conflict with other group's procedures, e.g., the client or the "host" corporation.
of team involvement in the formulation of key procedures can lead to little or half-hearted acceptance.
adoption of inappropriate procedures or the continued use of outdated procedures may occur .
of training regarding specific procedures and their role in project management.
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:
for conducting monthly progress meeting.
for dealing with conflicts among team members.
for reassigning team members and resources to other pressing project needs.
for disseminating information within the team among support groups.
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.
the team's information operating procedures, several questions can be answered by team brainstorming"
role can informal team procedures play in achieving team effectiveness?
are the operating procedures we want to use?
will the selected procedures affect performance?
will the selected procedures affect the internal working environment of the team, that is, the quality of the team's work
can the selected procedures be implemented and evaluated?
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
PHASE 6. DECISION-MAKING
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.
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.
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
of consensus-seeking decision-making processes are:
decision options are likely to be generated in the process.
which are independently suggested might be combined to produce problem-solving synergy.
on the team has an opportunity to influence the final decision.
members are likely to feel a high degree of involvement which can lead to commitment to the final decision.
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.
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
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:
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.
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
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.
to Effective Decision-Making
Information about a Problem
for Minimizing Or Avoiding the Barrier
Expert Help Ask Open-Ended Questions Brainstorm for Additional Information
what is is Known and What Is Not Known
Defined Purposes and Priorities Keep Problem-Solving Efforts Focused Provide for Concurrent Solution Seeking by Having Team
Members Explore Various Aspects Or the Problem
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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:
of Time Required to Implement Each Alternative
of Implementing Each Alternative
and Expertise Required by Each Alternative
Potential of Each Alternative
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
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:
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.
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."
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
PHASE 7. CONTROL
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.
the most common barriers to developing and using project team controls include:
goals and priorities
involvement and commitment to goals
and lack of follow-up
"control" a team priority
clear criteria for control
to confront team members who are not performing
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
we do well as a team?
can be improve our performance? What are our strengths? Weaknesses? Who can implement these changes? When?
we deal with support groups? Do our relationships need improving? Changing?
we deal with the client? What areas need changing?
keep us from achieving a higher performance level?
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.
RECOMMENDATIONS FOR IMPROVING PROJECT TEAM PERFORMANCE
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
we operating as a team? What's positive? Where can we improve? What steps are needed to initiate the desired change?
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?
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?
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.