PROJECT MANAGEMENT TEAMS – HOW DO THEY WORK?

Project Management Teams are groups of staff working collectively on an assignment or task which can be live for a couple of months or may last for several years depending upon the task that has been set. Putting a man on the Moon was a Project Team that lasted for a considerable time!

Small organisations may only ever have one Project Team whilst a Multi-national company may have many made up of staff from across the world. What unites both is that the trick is to make sure that the correct team is chosen with the correct balance of skills, knowledge and competence to get the job done.

The Multidimensional Challenge

You will need to recruit staff from different backgrounds and with differing levels of technical and commercial knowledge to get a good blend but the Team Leader must harness all of the skills of the tem to achieve the set goal. It takes real skill to manage a multi-cultural team and this is also true of a multi-generational team!

The Virtual Challenge

Even small organisations may get involved with running a Project Management Team across different countries and distance needs to be managed very carefully so that the task can be delivered; teleconferencing, videoconferencing and web-conferencing are all important tools here. There may be an initially heavy reliance upon conferencing in order to set the Project on its way and Virtual Teams place a high responsibility on individuals to perform and contribute.

The skills of the Team Leader are very important here to make sure all contribute and shoulder the burden – managing at distance requires clarity and determination of purpose!

The High Performance Challenge

Project Teams are an expensive tool so they are normally chosen to deal with mission-critical issues, therefore you need to recruit the most experienced and knowledgeable staff for this even if they have no knowledge of how a Project Management team might function. That piece of the jigsaw can be dealt with at a later date – get the right staff first!

For example, a technology company developing a new mobile application should assemble its most talented hardware and software engineers even if they have no specific experience with mobile telecommunications. Talented people can adapt and grow into new roles.

Practical Considerations

The number and complexity of projects grow as a business grows and great skill is needed in carefully managing them because they are often interdependent. Businesses need to develop criteria for prioritising projects, analysing current resources and assessing if certain projects can be combined, postponed or executed simultaneously. There may be a need to systematically look further afield to get the most skilled personnel into a Project Management Team; this could involve direct recruitment in a way not previously considered by the organisation. This will have a cost which needs to be factored in to the cost/benefit assessment of the topic itself. It may well be better to just allocate the task to a small group and then work from there rather than establishing a larger project management team.

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