Manual Project Team Dynamics: Enhancing Performance, Improving Results

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Lisa DiTullio demonstrates that enhancing team dynamics to improve performance in the federal environment does not have to be complicated or time-consuming. Her time-tested best practices, tips, and processes will help any government manager develop and lead a better team. Companies that embrace the power of collaboration realize that the best way to solve complex problems is to build cohesive teams made up of members with different skills and expertise. Getting teams to work productively is at the heart of project management. Developing the structure for teams to work dynamically at a high level of efficiency and effectiveness is at the heart of this book.

The author clearly outlines methods for creating and implementing a structure to deal with the inevitable difficulties that any team may encounter. With examples drawn from contemporary project management, she demonstrates the effectiveness of this straightforward approach and highlights the risks of not building a strong team culture. Publisher: iUniverse, Inc. Sound familiar? Many project managers immediately find themselves thinking about who they need versus what they need when identifying project resources.

In other words, many project managers select team members based on previous working relationships.

  • Expected behaviors for project team performance!
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Team members who hold required subject matter expertise and who performed well on previous projects are likely requested for future assignments; poor performers are seldom invited back. This model works well when organizations have excess resources and support team culture.

True team culture exists when members both demonstrate their best talents and function synergistically to achieve common goals. Unfortunately, many organizations lack both the bandwidth in resource availability and the true team mindset. As a result, project team leaders often find themselves fighting for the same small pool of ideal team members. Identifying what is needed on the team rather than who you want on the team is a great way to approach functional managers when requesting resources. When you are able to describe the skills, expertise, and assets of what you need on the team, you are effectively informing managers how to develop other staff members who might not quite have what it takes to make the team today.

This has long-term value for both you as the requesting manager and the functional manager. Be willing to accept rookie players. Team members come in all shapes and sizes, with varying levels of training, expertise, experience, education, and background. The challenge you face as a project manager is to know what you want in a team member before you search for one. Be thoughtful and precise in assessing the level of skill you need to support the size, type, and magnitude of your project , and overlay those requirements with emotional, social, and interpersonal intelligence requirements.

In fact, be careful not to overemphasize technical requirements when evaluating candidates. Limiting your search to people who have strong technical capabilities but lack professional decorum and interpersonal skills is not likely to produce optimum project results. Project members who have subject matter expertise but lack collaboration, tolerance, and understanding are not likely to fit well on the team; instead, they are more likely to alienate their teammates.

Project team members who can get the job done but will leave a trail of destruction in their path are less-than-ideal candidates for any team.

Projects cannot afford team turnover. Screening project team members requires project managers to see beyond accomplishments and credentials. The traditional screening questions still apply when assessing project team members. They typically include:. With so much juggling going on, it is easy to bypass a thorough team selection process in order to launch the team quickly. It is easy to ask only the screening questions, which might not get you all the information you need. Not taking adequate time to evaluate potential team members in advance of placing them on the team might cause regret later—for you as the team leader, for the individual team members, and for the team as a whole.

Using behavior-based methods to screen team candidates has become increasingly popular—and necessary. The premise behind behavioral interviewing is that the most accurate predictor of future performance is past performance in similar situations. The key is delving deeply enough during the interview process to accurately assess past behavior. The interviewer must probe to reach a depth of detail that forces the candidate to share past team experiences and behaviors.

Interviewers must ask pointed questions to elicit detailed responses that reveal whether the candidate possesses the ideal team characteristics. Continuous probing of a specific situation puts the pressure on. In October , Time Magazine published an article on emotional intelligence in which the authors suggest that a triumph of the reasoning brain over the impulsive one is emotional intelligence.

Regardless of our cognitive ability i. In the area of emotion, the distinction between intelligence and knowledge is murky and debate continues today around our own ability to distinguish between the two.

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Neither type of person will fit well into any team unless he or she is able to find and maintain balance. Understanding working characteristics allows you to fully evaluate the candidate and anticipate how he or she will fit into the group. As you screen candidates, be sure to delve into their minds by asking questions about when they have been successful or what they would have done differently.

Look for responses that suggest the candidate accepts accountability, takes psychological responsibility and pride, and talks about previous team relationships openly. Team building starts in the interview process. When conducted properly, the process is designed to ferret out personalities that might not fit on your team. Always meet with the candidate more than once to get a true read. This is often difficult in the fast-paced business environment we operate in, but it is important nonetheless.

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Sometimes the connection is instantaneous, but always meet twice with a person to double-check your gut reaction and instinct. It is also helpful to invite others to participate in the screening process.

Project Team Dynamics: Enhancing Performance, Improving Results - Lisa DiTullio - Google Kitaplar

Include potential peers, other confirmed team members, project sponsors, or key clients who have good interviewing and people skills. Having a candidate meet with different interviewers helps validate your reaction or highlight something you might have missed. For organizations that rely primarily on internal resources to fulfill project team requirements, do not assume that because you have worked with a potential team member on a previous project he or she will automatically meet the needs of the new project assignment.

Every project is different; every potential team member should be considered on the basis of the requirements of the current project. Consider the following questions, even if you have worked with the prospective team member in the past:. Does this candidate have adequate experience and skills in participating on this type of project? Does this candidate have balanced control over his or her emotions? The ability to handle stress?

What level of self-awareness has this candidate reached in relationship management?

How Google builds the perfect team

Social awareness? If I have worked with this person previously, what do I know about his or her technical abilities and social interaction skills that concerns me or confirms to me that he or she is the right fit for this new team? For most of the questions in table , you can continue to probe the candidate by delving deeper into the situation. This step is a precursor to defining team member roles and responsibilities. It enables you as the team leader to inform team candidates what you expect of all team members once they join the team and lets you view their reaction before you ask them to join the team.

For example, candidates for the Blue Angels are made aware that they will be away from home a lot before they volunteer for duty with the team, and the pilots are selected in part on the basis of their ability to cope with not only family separation but also a strenuous practice and show schedule. Many project teams experience a turnover in team membership throughout the life of the project.

What Are The Top Ways To Improve Team Dynamics On A Project?

This happens for a variety of reasons, including voluntary resignations, reductions in workforce, and changes that require additional or different resources to support new needs. Regardless of why team changes occur, be prepared. A change in team membership will affect the group, regardless of how high-performing the team might be.

When selecting new members to join an existing team, take care to ensure that new members will fit with existing team members. This is particularly important with project teams in full implementation mode; new team members must quickly adapt to existing team practices and also be able to contribute to the team in a seamless manner. As team leader, you will have little time to fully assess how a new team member will fit into the existing team culture. When you interview the new candidate, include one or two other team members in the screening process.