5 Best Practices for Every Project Team
Project teams are an integral part of the workplace where people from different groups or departments come together to create a project plan. They are usually temporary because when the project is complete, the group disbands.
September 20, 2018

Project teams are an integral part of the workplace where people from different groups or departments come together to create a project plan. They are usually temporary because when the project is complete, the group disbands.

Project teams are used when specific work that needs to be done requires project team members with varying skill sets. You can't get the skill set needed from one department, so team roles are distributed among the group. Today, we'll be covering the best practices for creating effective project teams and the benefits of group project management.

1. Choose Team Members Carefully

A big part of effective project management is putting the right team in place. Once a project manager has determined the scope of a specific project, they have to pick their project team members wisely. Employees that often do the bare minimum and won't be open to additional work outside of their regular job responsibilities aren't likely to be the best team members.

One way to build out a great project team is to ask for volunteers. However, be careful not to pick the first few employees to come forward and don't extend the invitation to the entire organisation. Consider which types of team roles you'll need and what type of skills varying team members should have.

For example, most project managers will want the following team roles on a major project:

  • A project sponsor, such a board member
  • Subject matter experts β€” for example, if the project work includes new technology software, you'll want a project team member from your IT department
  • Team managers or supervisors to oversee the subject matter experts
  • An internal communications team role
  • A marketing manager or content specialist to coordinate external communications

Once you have a grasp of how many team members you need, select a handful of good candidates and invite them to volunteer. You can even interview potential project team members the same way you would a new employee to determine which people are the right fit for the project. In some cases, organisations will outsource an important role with contract labor.

2. Create Project Team Rules and Guidelines

Often, project teams are composed of people who don't normally work together on a regular basis. When you are bringing team members together from several different departments, you can't expect the group to automatically have natural, effective teamwork and cohesion.

Upon chartering a project team with the best roster, good project managers bring the group together to fully explain the scope of the project, begin project planning, determine common goals, build excitement and create project team rules, expectations and guidelines. If you have team members in various locations, it can be helpful to bring the entire project team to one location for a few days to aid the process and drive collaboration.

What should your team rules be? Good examples include:

  • Doing what you say you are going to do
  • Honest, thorough communication and feedback
  • Commitment towards reaching agreed-upon common goals – on time
  • Arriving to meetings on time
  • Ending meetings on time

3. Organise Your Project Work Thoughtfully

Let's imagine you have a great team in place, you've had a productive project team launch, project planning has been a success and now it's time to get to work and put that plan into action.

As any good project manager knows, planning the lifecycle of the project is critical. A typical project lifecycle includes the following phases:

  • Resource Allocation: During this time, the team allocates budget resources for the project.
  • Project Schedule: The project team establishes a schedule, important milestones and a final estimated deadline for completion.
  • Assigning Tasks: The project manager will work with the team to assign tasks and responsibilities to each team member, making sure everyone knows what is expected of them within a certain time period.
  • Define Success: How will the project team know if they were successful? These parameters should be put into place before beginning the project.
  • Project Completion: Before closing the project, team members should do a post-mortem of the project to determine what went well, what could have gone better and identify future opportunities for improvement.

4. Use Technology to Bring Your Project Team Together

Complex projects with tight deadlines need to be managed efficiently. Wise project teams harness the power of modern technology to streamline projects with project management tools that keep everyone on the same page.

For example, many project teams use project management software. Samewave is social performance management software that helps teams manage their projects by creating goals and targets, communicating in chat streams, uploading and storing files and tracking progress towards tasks and targets in one transparent place.

With the power of Promise-Based Management, teams that use Samewave know who is responsible for what and help increase individual accountability towards goals. Best of all, Samewave is free, so your team can sign up and try our software today.

5. Intentionally Create Team-Building Opportunities

Because a project team consists of team members that probably don't work together regularly, project managers should be intentional about creating opportunities that encourage team-building, rapport and foster overall team engagement.

This makes it even more important for the project team members to spend time getting to know one another, especially in the early stages of the project. Ideally, project managers should facilitate events outside of the office to help promote stronger teamwork. When people know each other on a more personal level, they grow to trust one another and can develop a better working relationship.

Good team-building events should vary in order to include as many members of the team as possible. Examples include:

  • Sporting events like bowling or arcade games
  • Happy hours or other social events
  • Team lunches away from the office
  • 'Escape room' outings, where teams solve mysteries together in a fun environment, especially since it incorporates problem-solving

If your team is comprised of remote members, you can still find ways to foster team-building and engagement. If your budget allows, bring team members together for a day or two of planning and be sure to incorporate fun events into the agenda. If you have to work from remote locations for the entirety of the project, simply starting each meeting with an icebreaker or 'get to know you' activity can promote meaningful teamwork.

Create the Most Successful Project Team

Developing a project team that gets things done on time and works together efficiently is no small task. However, it doesn't have to be difficult. Putting a great team in place, planning the work beforehand, being flexible and leveraging technology to organise any project creates a streamlined process.

Set your project team up for success with these best practices and get ready to see your group exceed expectations, driving the business results your organisation craves.

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