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Project Management – 12 Reasons Your Team Is Not Productive and How to Fix It!

Project Management – 12 Reasons Your Team Is Not Productive and How to Fix It!
By David R Robins

According research done by Forrester, up to 68% of all projects finish late or fail totally. The problem is getting worse. Due to globalization many teams are not located in one location and the team’s performance suffers due to the lack of collaboration & communication. Today, there are three type of teams working on projects in small to large companies.

  1. Traditional teams– All team members are in the same physical location. This model is happening less often these days.
  2. Distributed team– All team members work remotely and rarely meet each other. This is seen more in web design, graphic art and software engineering disciplines than other fields

  3. Mixed teams– A combination of the above two. Like teams which meet 1 day of the week in one location and the rest of the week work remotely, or use new technology to create a virtual office for the team.

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Belbin and Successful Project Teams

Belbin and Successful Project Teams
By Dirk Jungnickel and Abid Mustafa

Creating successful project teams is a daunting task for any project leader, especially when they are pressed to deliver results within aggressive time scales and tight budgetary constraints. Overcoming challenges such as getting the right blend of youth and experience, skills and competencies, academic qualification and professional certifications does not necessarily lead to the establishment of successful project teams.

Building successful project teams is about slotting the right individuals into designated team roles and fostering team spirit. This may sound easy at first, but in time it can become a cumbersome task, especially when project leaders have to choose from a number of highly competent people that can do multiple roles. Selecting individuals on conventional criteria based on experience, skills, qualifications and psychometric tests simply does not work. Alternative mechanisms have to be explored to get the right person for the right role within the team. Read the Complete Article

The Five Characteristics of Strong Teams

The Five Characteristics of Strong Teams
By Timothy F Bednarz

A team is defined as a small number of individuals with complementary skills who are committed to a common purpose, approach and set of performance goals to which all are held mutually accountable. A more detailed examination of this definition will further elucidate strengths of the team approach.

The fact that individual member efforts and overall group performance are inextricably linked makes the team the most productive performance unit an organization has at its disposal. The team is collectively responsible for specific results and will achieve them provided the performance ethic of the company is strong enough.

Within teams, each specific member’s commitment to the common purpose in a set of related performance goals is of paramount importance. Each individual must believe the team’s overall objective has a direct bearing on the success of the company and must collectively keep each other honest in assessing the results relative to that purpose. Read the Complete Article

How to Build a Great Team

How to Build a Great Team
By Nick Bettes

As a business leader it is your role to get the most from your staff. You must become the team coach, not the centre-forward. You must create the conditions for your team to succeed whilst striving to remove any dependency on your own efforts or technical knowledge. Here are some guidelines for creating a successful team.

  1. Define a shared, clear, worthwhile purpose for the team – and continue to reinforce this.

  2. Define clear boundaries for the team and empower every member to question things within those boundaries (not only in their own area of responsibility).

  3. Define the desired outcomes. Make these challenging but not demoralisingly difficult.

  4. Make sure there is regular, objective, actionable feedback on team performance.

  5. Make improved team functioning, or dynamics, one of the desired outcomes.

  6. Create wholesome team dynamics.

  7. The foundation for any high-performing team is trust amongst the members.

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Six Characteristic Stages of Team Development

Six Characteristic Stages of Team Development
By J. Alex Sherrer

Though we often use the term team as a catch-all for any group of people, there is a distinction between a work group and a team, and there are conditions when one is more suitable than the other. Work groups are more efficient when the objectives are clear and there are only a few options for how to achieve them. A team is best when there isn’t a clear path to the objective, and alternative, creative, or innovative approaches are needed.

When a project needs the expertise of a team rather than a work group, most of us are familiar with Tuckman’s four stages of team –forming, storming, norming, and performing. However, those labels imply that a work group’s development into a team is a naturally-occurring, passive activity. We assemble skilled and experienced personnel and often expect them to materialize on their own into a high-performing team when it really takes the leadership skills of the project manager and project management team to help a work group evolve into a cohesive, focused team. Read the Complete Article

RACI and RACI-VS

RACI and RACI-VS
By Ray W. Frohnhoefer

Managing the expectations of a Project Team can often be more difficult than managing those of external stakeholders. Teams “form, storm, norm, and perform”, but short projects and critical tasks can be impacted by unwanted behaviors, especially if the team members don’t know what’s expected of them. RACI and RACI-VS are forms of a Responsibility Assignment Matrix (RAM) which can help focus the team on their roles and responsibilities while aiding the project manager in thinking through the Human Resources plan.

The PMBOK® Guide includes the Responsibility Assignment Matrix in the Human Resources plan. It is designed to show the connections between the work packages of the WBS and the project team. Multiples levels of RAM may be presented. A high level RAM may show connections between high level packages (such as project phases or summary tasks) and sub teams or generic resources. Ultimately the RAM connects each task to specific, named team members. Read the Complete Article

Critical Team Development and Intervention Tips for Project Managers

Critical Team Development and Intervention Tips for Project Managers
By Daniel Seet

Introduction

The saying goes that the Human Resource Management (HRM) profession is really six to seven different jobs all rolled into one. The broad and distinct spectrum of knowledge areas that a HR practitioner needs truly runs the gamut, such as benefits, compensation, staffing, and many other specialties. While there is probably no empirical basis for a direct comparison, I do believe that the field of project management would rank a close second if the expansiveness of a project manager’s job scope were to be considered.

Take the practitioners trained under the PMBOK (Project Management Body of Knowledge) system administered by the Project Management Institute as an example. Apart from understanding the broad picture of how each project should be managed throughout its lifecycle, they also need to have a working knowledge of the PMBOK’s nine knowledge areas (integration, cost, scope, quality, HR and procurement, etc) and their subdivision of 44 management processes, and how they work together to guide the project to success. Read the Complete Article

Identification of the Project Team Members

Identification of the Project Team Members (#2 in the series Requirements for an Effective Project Team and for Excellent Teamwork)
By Dr.Russell Archibald

It seems obvious that in order to have an effective team, the team players must be identified. However, experience shows that project managers often fail to do this, or only identify their project team members on an “as needed” basis when a new task comes up that cannot be performed by someone already on the team. In some cases the project manager may know the team members, but will fail to inform the other members, so that only the project manager knows who is on the team.

Using the defined project scope and objectives and the initial list of project deliverables, a listing of all project team members is compiled and distributed to the entire team. This list should include each team member’s full name, address (regular and e-mail), voice and fax telephone numbers, and any other pertinent communication information. Read the Complete Article

The RACI/ARCI Matrix for Structuring Roles in Project Management – Introduction

The RACI/ARCI Matrix for Structuring Roles in Project Management – Introduction (#1 in the series The RACI/ARCI Matrix for Structuring Roles in Project Management)
By Swapnil Gyani

Teamwork is often seen as an effective way to accomplish work goals. And there is no doubt that when teams work well together the results can be impressive. Unfortunately, the opposite is true and all too common: Teams that fail to work well can also fail to deliver the desired results.

When several people work on a project it is easy to assume that someone else is taking care of a particular detail or assignment. It is also easy to point fingers and assign blame when one of those jobs is done poorly or not done at all.

Many factors can contribute to the underperformance of a team, but unless responsibilities and accountabilities are clear, there can be a significant risk that problems will arise. Read the Complete Article

Project Participants Organization in Construction Management

Project Participants Organization in Construction Management (#4 in the Hut Project Management for Construction)
By Chris Hendrickson

The top management of the owner sets the overall policy and selects the appropriate organization to take charge of a proposed project. Its policy will dictate how the project life cycle is divided among organizations and which professionals should be engaged. Decisions by the top management of the owner will also influence the organization to be adopted for project management. In general, there are many ways to decompose a project into stages. The most typical ways are:

  • Sequential processing whereby the project is divided into separate stages and each stage is carried out successively in sequence.
  • Parallel processing whereby the project is divided into independent parts such that all stages are carried out simultaneously.
  • Staggered processing whereby the stages may be overlapping, such as the use of phased design-construct procedures for fast track operation.
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